Looking out across the edge of the infinity pool at Hotel Mulberry at the view of the erstwhile royal palace off in the distance, hedged by clouds, it’s a peaceful setting, and you might say, an odd one in which to be discussing a horror film. But there we were, with Australian cinematographer Rah Sharma and Kegan Tan from Blackmagic Design, doing just that. The movie, of course, is Sunkesari, a Nepali horror feature film opening here in Nepal this very Friday (possibly as you are reading this).
Directed and produced by Arpan Thapa and Reecha Sharma, respectively—with Reecha also in a starring role—it promises to bring something entirely new to the Nepali film genre. Filmed entirely in Camelot Castle in western Sydney, Australia, at—as the name implies—a true-to-life castle where scenes from the epic film Australia (Nicole Kidman, anyone?) were also filmed, Sunkesari is up there rubbing shoulders with Hollywood royalty. With its amazing stunts and great visuals, this promises to be a treat for all fans of the genre. And, in addition to being shown here, the movie will also be screened in Australia, where it’s hoped to generate interest amongst not just the Nepali community, but that of a wider audience, as well.
As we talk, I learn that Sunkesari was filmed—the entire movie—in just 17 days with a three-person crew, on one camera. Part of the idea behind this was to show just how versatile the type of camera Blackmagic Design makes can be, and show that it’s possible to produce an amazing film with fewer resources than you might imagine. To quote Kegan Tan, “We make tools for filmmaking more affordable so people can be creative.” Now, I am no filmmaker, but it sure does sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
Even if you’re not a fan of the horror genre, there’s still a story here worth reading about, because of what has come about since the movie was made. Rah Sharma is here visiting Nepal for the first time, and he’s been impressed with what he’s seen. The day before we spoke, he held a seminar for young Nepali filmmakers; the potential is fully there, he believes, what’s needed are the tools and training that will enable them to get out there and tell their own stories, as only they can. He’s even hosting a short film competition open to anyone locally who wants to submit, with a cool piece of equipment as prize. The enthusiasm is catching; I’m a fan of people passing on their skills and knowledge to others as much as possible, so hearing about the seminar is inspiring.
The duo is also interested in promoting Nepal abroad as a potential destination for film shoots. We know about Dr. Strange, of course, and Everest, and a few others—but it’s great to hear Kegan and Rah talk about the potential they see around them for the industry. It sure would be cool to see Nepal up on the big screen more often! For now, though, if you’re the sort that loves a fright, then Sunkesari might just be the film for you.