London. A film about the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal which claimed almost 9,000 lives and affected hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, has been shown in the UK Parliament.
Directed by the country’s most celebrated film maker, Ganesh Panday, the screening of ‘Nepal Earthquake Heroes, Survivors & Miracles’ was hosted by North East Fife MP Stephen Gethins to commemorate the second anniversary of the earthquakes which struck Kathmandu sending shockwaves across the country.
The film, which aims to represent Nepali resilience in face of the 2015 earthquakes, is highly topical, coming just a month after the UK – Nepal Bicentenary closing ceremony and programme at the Embassy of Nepal. This event highlighted the mutual benefit of deepening Nepal-UK relations, including tourism and business opportunities as well as links between communities.
The film also highlights the significance of Nepal’s film industries.
The event was initiated by internationally renowned landscape photographer and founder of the Little Sherpa Foundation, James Lamb, and has been jointly supported by Pashupati Bhandari the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) representative to the UK and Alan Mercel-Sanca of the UK Nepal Friendship Society (UKNFS) and James’s MP, Stephen Gethins.
The Charge D’Affaires of the Embassy of Nepal, Mr Sharad Aran, representing H.E. Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi, Ambassador of Nepal to the UK, was in attendance as Chief Guest of Honour, along with Ganesh Panday.
During the event, Pashupati Bhandari gave an impassioned speech followed by an inspiring video presentation of Nepal and encouraging everyone in the room to visit Nepal.
Scottish architect Murray Kerr of the hit TV programme ‘Grand Designs’ also made a presentation at the event, where he shared information about the creation of revolutionary earthquake-proof homes being constructed in the Everest region.
Alan Mercel-Sanca (UK Nepal Friendship Society) in his closing remarks, commented on how important connecting Nepal and the UK’s creative and tourism sectors was an important way forward for both countries, and that such positive action at practical and strategic levels was a valuable way of paying tribute to the courage and humanity of those Ganesh Panday’s exceptional film, highlighted. Alan made the further point that celebrities could play a special role in supporting greater international profiling of Nepal – land of the heroic Gurkhas, intimately linked to British history – and the fabled Himalayan land’s many great resources and attractions, from spiritual and creative to herbal and medicinal plants. He indicated to all attending how welcome it was to see Mr Nigel Planer (of The Young Ones Fame and veteran writer on travel for the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday) and TV chef, Mrs Sarah Ali Choudhury (My Kitchen Rules – Channel 4), attending the film event.
Mr Sharad Aran, as the final and chief guest speaker, commented on the importance of the film event, recalling his direct experience of the devastating earthquake on his home district. He emphasised the enthusiastic support the embassy gives to proactive initiatives of the kind detailed at the event, of James, Mr Murray Kerr, and of the Nepal Tourism Board in conjunction with the UK Nepal Friendship Society, and that there still so much more that needs to be done two years on.
Speaking after the event, James Lamb said: “The 2015 earthquakes, which occurred in Nepal when I was filming there, caused great physical and human damage which Ganesh’s film highlights very powerfully. We hosted this event to highlight the continued problems from this disaster, to raise funds for our charity and to ensure parliamentarians and policy makers are kept aware of the situation in the country. I am grateful to Stephen for helping to raise awareness of the humanitarian situation in Nepal by taking time out of his schedule to help organise the screening.”
Commenting on the film screening, Stephen Gethins MP added: “As we approach the second anniversary of the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal, it is vital that we do all that is possible to highlight the continued hardship faced by those affected. I would encourage others to view the film and to consider helping, however possible, those affected by the earthquakes.”