Shot in January 2018 in Pokhara, Nepal
Running Time: 15’ 30
Aspect Ratio: 1:2.39
Screening Format: 2K DCP, .mov, mp4 (HD)
Sound: 5.1 Stereo.
Shot on Red Helium, 8K, 25 fps.
Language: Nepali, English, German.
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic.
In an impoverished country, rife with contradiction, a young girl is torn by her obligation to her family and the influence of foreign visitors.
Nestled between a beautiful lake and the Himalayas, Ashmina, 13, lives with her family at the outskirts of Pokhara Nepal, paragliding capital of the world.
The remote and traditional town is also a busy tourist destination where the locals are profoundly affected by the swarms of tourists who visit it daily. Forced to skip school, Ashmina helps her family make ends meet by working at the landing field, packing the parachutes of foreign pilots in return of small change.
Ashmina’s story was inspired by a 2014 trip to Nepal. Following a mountain climbing expedition in the Everest region, I travelled to Pokhara to complete my training as a paragliding pilot. I was immediately captivated by the young children who were working in the landing field and instantly knew that I would one day return to Nepal to capture their story on film.
From the very beginning, I envisioned Ashmina as a social realist film. It was shot in open locations, using mostly available light and a local semi-professional crew. The cast is made-up of locals, non-professional actors who we met in the location in which the story takes place. The foreigners portraying David and his friends are backpackers who we met in the streets of Pokhara who had to take time off from their travels so they could participate in the film.
Ashmina attempts to authentically capture the world of the protagonist, a young Nepali girl living in a traditional society, a culture which is threatened and challenged by the flood of tourists who visit it daily. The people, places, and atmosphere we’ve captured in the film are real, and the crew was minimal which
allowed us to work inconspicuously and capture the essence of the world around us.
The experience and success of the project have inspired our team to turn Ashmina into a full-length feature film. The film will explore episodes in the lives of five women of different ages, from different countries and backgrounds, all facing issues that concern women around the world today.
Ashmina is distributed by Salaud Morisset and is Oscar Qualified.
Dekel Berenson - Writer / Director
Dekel Berenson is originally from Israel and completed a mandatory three-year service in the Israeli Defense Forces. In 2001 he went abroad to pursue his education, eventually acquiring a Masters in International Relations from the Central European University in Budapest in 2006, receiving the Best Thesis Award and graduating first in his class. Moving forward, the next ten years of his work in writing, activism, and graphic design took him all over the world, where he explored more than sixty countries. Over the past three years, he has combined his two passions, making artistic films of high quality that bring to light real-world social and humanitarian issues. His 2nd film Ashmina won several prizes, including the Best Short Film award at the 59th Krakow Film Festival and Best Live Action Short at the 36th Jerusalem Film Festival, allowing it to complete for a short Oscar. His 3rd film, Anna, premiered in competition at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival. He is currently working on his first feature.
Dominic Davey - Producer
Dominic worked for 10 years as a Live Event Producer specializing in stadium entertainment, before making the switch to film 6 years ago. In that time he has worked on ten Features and over 50 shorts as a 1st Assistant Director. He currently has numerous projects in development including both short and feature
Merlin Merton - Producer
Merlin Merton started off as a freelance producer on music videos, picking up several UKMVA nominations. In 2013 he founded Blue Shadows Films, a production company renowned for its bold features such as 10,000 Saints (2015), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Butterfly Kisses (2017), winner of the Crystal Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.
Elad Keidan - Ex Producer
Studied film at the Jerusalem film school of Sam Spiegel. Anthem, his graduation film, won the Cinéfondation selection in Cannes 2008. Another short, And On He Walks participated in the Locarno film festival in 2011. His first feature Afterthought took part in the Cannes Official Selection in 2015 and won several local awards. Elad lives in Tel Aviv where he teachers, lectures and gives story tutoring to film students and professionals.
Dikshya Karki - Ashmina
It is always our preference to work with real people, non-professional actors who are discovered in the location in which the story takes place. Their performance add a layer of authenticity to the film which is difficult to achieve while working with established actors. This is doubly important when working with children or young adults.
Dikshya Karki, 13, is a native of Pokhara and a student at a local school. Following a lengthy casting process, she was selected for the role from among dozens of other girls. Dikshya then undertook extensive training as a “packing girl,” spending more than six weeks at the local landing field, learning the ins and outs of folding parachutes.
The local packers, at the time of shooting exclusively boys, were at first suspicious of Dikshya but quickly adopted her as one of their own. She became so good at packing paragliders that within days she was being paid for the job by pilots who did not know that she was there for the role.
Born in Geelong Australia in 1986. From 2004 - 2017 worked as a carpenter. At age 18 began to paraglide but stopped in 2007 after a near death experience. Started paragliding again in 2016 and is now training acrobatics and flying different locations around the world. Heard about Ashmina from a Facebook post and decided to audition for the role. Hobbies also include skateboarding and electronic music production.
Ashmina's Father (Nepal)
Born in Deurali, a small village in the Northern-Central Nepal, Shiva is a teacher, writer and poet. He recorded more than 45 songs and published his first book of poems in 1999. He has been involved with a number of Nepali family planning organizations and is currently teaches literature and drama at the Global Public School in Kathmandu and at local public schools in Pokhara.
Ashmina's Mother (Nepal)
Born in Nuwakot, Sadhana moved to Kathmandu in 2004 to pursue a career as a Nurse and Midwife. Between 2006 and 2012 worked for international NGOs as a team leader and paramedical staff treating HIV patients, women and children, as well as infected drug users. Began taking acting lessons in 2013 and since then have been involved in the Kathmandu independent theatre and film scenes.
Additional Cast & Crew
First Assistant Director - Dominic Davey
Local Assistant Director - Prashish Bajracharya
Runner Assistant Director - Laxman Khadka
Pilot Assistant Director - Buddhi Parajuli, Subash Thapa Jonny
Runners - Suman Nagarkoti, Samrik Khatri
Production Coordinator - Shyam Khadka
First Assistant Camera - Alexandre Dantas
Second Assistant Camera - Sagar Shrestha, Biru Tamu
Hair and Makeup - Saroj Budhathoki
Steadicam Operator - Dougal Wallace
Digital Imaging Technician - Saurav KC
Sound Recordist - Miguel Antunes
Boom Operator - Sartthak Thermakov
Gaffer - Dipendra Thapaliya
Sparks - Tayka Prasad Dhyngel, Laxman Kharel, Ashok Shrestha
Art Director - Ghanashyam Shresthra
Assistant Art Director - Shiva Pariyar
Wardrobe - Madan Neupane
Post Production Supervisor - Charlotte Stade
Editors - Ricardo Mesquita, Dekel Berenson
Sound Designer - Hugo Leitão
Music - Flash Fluharty - Dancing Like Devils
Visual Effects - Pedro Vicente
Colourist - Jennifer Mendes
Script Advisor - Marta Parlatore
Production Assistant - Tom Cullingham
Behind the Scenes Photographer - Yuyush Dhakal
Special Thanks - Andy Krakower, Toby Fell-holden, Elad Keidan, Loudness Films Lisboa.
Pilots & Folding Boys
Buddhi Parajuli, Subash Thapa Jonny, Prem Khatri Chhetri, Bishal Badhur Chhetri, Bikram Nepali,Norm Dibble, Pursu Ram Sigdel, Keran Nepali, Sunil Nepali, Sudip Nepali, Saroj Bhujel, Subash Paniyar, Ramesh Nepali, Bikash Nepali, Sujan Shrestha, Manon Deprem, Christopher Knoch, Sujan Thapa Mayar, Nabin Pariyar, Sanju Pariyar, Sandeep Nepali.