Director: Nani Sahra Walker
Grade Levels: Grades 11 and Higher
Pilgrimage is the moving vehicle in Other Nature wherein Badri Pun, Bhumika Shrestha and her mother journey to Muktinath, a holy temple where both Hindus and Buddhists pay homage.
The journey proves to be precarious with constant threats of landslides, flooded unpaved roads and Maoist violence in the rural areas of the Mustang District. Often having to build their own path as they drive to Muktinath, the physical journey reflects the nature of the political and emotional efforts for equal rights.
Shot in HD, Other Nature is a striking film that captures lush Himalayan landscapes, cascading rivers, crowded open-air markets, and ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples providing the backdrop to an artful and innovative documentary. At the beginning of the film, the three characters get ready to board a van headed to Muktinath. Excerpts of Bhumikas radio interviews appear, during which she pleads for separate gender identity on citizenship cards for third gender individuals. The journey to Muktinath recurs throughout the film interweaving interviews with various political events. The pilgrims finally make it to Muktinath and pray for peace, human rights, and equality in the current political climate.
The film builds on various perspectives with an in-depth look into the personal stories of the LGBT human rights activists, as well as reflections from Nepali artists, politicians, lawyers and religious figures on the politics and ethics of the third gender and same-sex marriage. There are also interviews with a lesbian couple from Kolkata who ran away to escape the pressures of the arranged marriage tradition; as well the first third gender citizen describing the arduous process of acquiring citizenship. Interviews with and shots of third gender sex workers walking the streets of the Thamel Red Light District (located near the U.S. Embassy) texture the landscape of the human rights struggle in Nepal.
Original music composition set tones of discovery, anticipation and resilience to the interviews and images on the pilgrimage. Stories of daily life, and the women and men who lead political efforts to advance equal rights for sexual minorities are at the heart of this project. The undertaking of these individuals to become true to themselves as part of a larger movement for Nepal`s advancement is affirmed in Other Nature.