Nabin Subba’s A Road to a Village provides a candid examination of the disruptive influences of rapid modernization on rural life in Nepal. Having premiered globally in Toronto, the film is currently being showcased at the Busan International Film Festival under the ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ category.
Recognized for his insightful depiction of societal transitions in Nepal through works like “Numafung” (2001), “Goodbye Kathmandu” (2017), and the documentary series “Dalan” (2008), Subba continues this exploration with his latest film. Collaboratively penned by Subba and Mahesh Rai, A Road to a Village chronicles the life transformations experienced by Maila, an adept bamboo weaver, and his seven-year-old son Bindray when modernity knocks on their village’s door through a newly built road linking them to the closest town.
This roadway introduces young Bindray to a host of novelties including soft drinks, sunglasses, mobile devices, television, and hip hop music. The film’s inspiration traces back to an encounter Subba had a quarter-century ago with a nervous young migrant worker on a European flight. This meeting ignited Subba’s interest in understanding the motives driving individuals to abandon their familiar environments for foreign labor opportunities.
Through his film, Subba wishes to illuminate the nuanced realities facing Nepal, where political maneuvering has stymied development, perpetuating poverty and leaving rural employment landscapes stagnant. He intends for audiences to dive deep into local cultures and narratives, exposing the seldom-heard tales of communities on the fringes in developing nations.
Furthermore, the film endeavors to offer insights into the compelling reasons that drive Nepalese individuals to explore opportunities abroad. In doing so, it invites audiences on a poignant exploration of these experiences. Subba hopes his work prompts contemplation and discussion among viewers regarding progress, the preservation of culture, the search for individual purpose and identity, and the challenge of maintaining these elements in a world continually evolving and testing our values and sense of self.
Financing for A Road to a Village was secured through community funding, a crucial approach according to Subba, given the inherent challenges of funding independent film projects in Nepal. In a landscape where reliance on foreign funds is unsustainable and where local producers and financers are reluctant to back independent films due to risk, community funding offers a viable alternative. It not only empowers communities to narrate and own their stories but also fosters a personal investment in the project.
Following notable sales interest garnered in Toronto and its Asian premiere at Busan, A Road to a Village is set for a premiere in South Asia, with a subsequent theatrical release planned for Nepal. Menchhyayem, the production company, is handling international rights. Meanwhile, Subba is already engaging in the preliminary stages of producing a new project, aiming to shine a light on Nepal’s caste system, with particular emphasis on the Dalit community, with production expected to commence next year. Source