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Filmmaking in Patan

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 In the haven of Sattya Media Arts Collective on a hazy Saturday near the end of our stay. Our gang and young Nepalis shot footage yesterday around the busy Patan district of Kathmandu Valley. Now they are putting it all together, mixing sound and image, and adding titles. The theme of the interconnected pieces done by five small groups is waste management, a huge issue in this once pristine valley of many millions.

Nepal's infrastructure is limited and being in the 'most poor' country category, the rapid growth of the capital city and environs in recent decades has put unprecedented pessure on just about everything and everybody. Roads are being expanded, trash is routinely dumped in rivers, large brick or cement housing structures are built in the middle of former rice paddies and vegetable patches. With even a 200% duty on any car or motorcycle purchase, the inadequate roads are choked with vehicles. For our students. there is plenty to think about and discuss with our Nepali hosts.

It's our last weekend in country and students are in fine spirits. We've toured extensively in Kathmandu valley, home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We've trekked for 5-days in the Langtang region north of Kathmandu and reached a viewpoint at 12,600 feet. The view in the late morning light was spectacular and our breathing returned to nrmal on the long walk down. The final ascent was 2,300 feet and when we left the Taruche overlook, we descended about 5000 feet to our overnight stay at the Potala Guesthoiuse in Thuman. The challenge to our bodies has led to a bit of coughs and colds, but generally all are happy and well in the flow of the filmmaking projet underway.

Tonight, we will sleep at Valley Guesthouse near the great Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath. It's an ancient pilgrimahe site and the neighborhood is now home to many Tibetans whose family's escaped Chines oppression since the takeover of their country in 1959. Sunday will be our day to prepare for the long way home. It's traditional to walk around the stupa, spin the prayer wheels and meditate on life. It will be a calm day, and much needed in this most hectic of valleys.