I Am Belmaya (2020)
Directed by Sue Carpenter, 81 mins
Dominated by her husband, her family and society, Belmaya is desperate for independence. But in much of Nepal, men rule and women obey. Here, in one of the poorest nations on earth, women are daughters, wives, mothers, dependents and, all too often, victims and slaves - but rarely individuals in their own right.
Born a Dalit (the lowest, ‘untouchable’ caste), orphaned at the age of nine, poorly educated, and trapped in an abusive marriage with a baby daughter, Belmaya, 21, has given up hope of finding happiness.
Rewind to 2006, when Belmaya, at 14, participated in a photo project at a girls’ home in Pokhara. Impassioned and inspired, she was keen to change her discriminatory world through photography. But that window closed when the home locked away her camera.
Now she gets a second chance, this time to train in documentary filmmaking. Picking up the camera once more, her old spark returns. Determined to create a better life for her young daughter, Belmaya gains the skills and confidence to forge a new path. But are her resentful husband and conservative community ready for this?
An inspirational tale of rebellion, love and hope, shot over five years, as Belmaya battles to takes charge of her story.
The panel discussion after the World Premiere was moderated by Anna Smith, film critic and Girls on Film podcast host. Anna was joined by I Am Belmaya co-director Sue Carpenter and journalist and film-maker Subina Shrestha. Here's the replay:
The panel discussion after the Nepal Premiere was moderated by Nepali social activist and entrepreneur Malvika Subba. Malvika was joined by co-director Sue Carpenter and protagonist and co-director Belmaya Nepali. Here's the replay: