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About Reel Youth in Nepal

In April and May of 2010, Reel Youth is leading a UN Habitat funded youth film project in Nepal.  We are working with young people from the organization Prisoner’s Assistance (PA) Nepal, bringing (and leaving) equipment, teaching them how to make their own films, and helping set up a video production business.

This is Reel Youth’s second project in Nepal.  In the fall of 2008 we spent 6 weeks shooting a 22 minute documentary called Family Stones.  The film tells the remarkable stories of seven youth living with PA Nepal after being rescued from the adult prison system.  The film was featured at our screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival, is currently touring with the Reel Youth Film Festival, and will be broadcast on television stations across Canada this spring.

Our current project is designed to sustain itself.  Once the initial investment is made into training and equipment, funds raised from video production contracts will pay for the upkeep of the equipment and wages for the youth involved.  We are working intensively with eight youth for six weeks and hope that by the end they have the skills to produce short films, work with clients, and run a business.

The idea is that the trained youth will act as mentors, passing on the skills and knowledge to the younger youth in the organization so that the project can continue well after we leave and the older youth move out of the children’s home.

Anticipated Challenges:

  • Working with a small grass roots organization in a majority world country can make scheduling and pre-planning tenuous.  With so many other variables in play, meeting the basic needs of these children is the first priority.
  • The energy needs of Nepal can only be met with a schedule of power blackouts that we have to work around.
  • The youth have limited technology experience and English is their second languate. We’re starting with the very basics.   Can we overcome our language barriers enough to pass on all the production, editing, and business skills?
  • Securing contracts for the youth’s business.  We already have three contracts lined up, but will we be able to tap a big enough market to sustain the business, and can we pass on enough skills so that the youth can run the business after we leave?
  • Will we get enough buy-in and commitment from the youth to make it a success?  Most of the training will happen during their summer holidays.

Factors working in our favor:

  • We have worked with the same youth and partner organization 15 months ago so we know what we’re getting into.   We love them, they love us.  We had the youth shoot part of, Family Stones, the film we shot last year, so there is already interest in video production.
  • The equipment has been sourced and purchased.  We’ll be hitting the ground running.
  • This is our fourth international project so we’ll be building on the experience of the past.

We’re excited to share the experience with you so keep checking back to see how it all turns out!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    April 14, 2010 12:46 am


    You guys are awesome and I’m proud to have met you and been able to travel a bit with you in 2008. Nepal is amazing and you give it the tribute it deserves. Keep it up!


  2. Carl E. Kohn permalink
    April 22, 2010 3:41 pm

    Your commitment to these youths in Nepal is awesome and truly inspiring. Your goal of developing self-sufficiency provides a model that should be followed by aid programs to developing countries.

    I hope that you come away from Nepal having learned the essential ingrediants of successful aid and that you will be able to share your success with other agencies.


    • April 23, 2010 1:05 pm

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment!

      We made an alliance with a local group who works with young people and the environment and a Nepali documentary filmmaker who offered to mentor the kids. Pretty sweet.

  3. April 26, 2010 11:56 am

    what a great site and informative posts, I will bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

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