It was back in 2016 when I first wrote about the Pasang Lhamu Sherpa documentary on the blog. Many years have passed since that blog post. I often wondered when the documentary would see light… Over the past two years, I was more hopeful after seeing the documentary film travel to many film festivals across the Americas and Europe.
Today, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa’s story, the first Nepali woman to climb Sagarmatha, Mt Everest has screened at over 30 film festivals winning 14 awards. They include Telluride in Colorado, Kendall Mountain in the UK and the BANFF in Canada. Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest finally travelled to Nepal on Wednesday, 19th April with an exclusive grand premiere at QFX Cinema Civil Mall to commemorate 30 years since Pasang’s historic climb of the highest peak in the world.
Being the host for the premiere screening felt like a full circle moment for me. I remembered how amped I was when I first saw the documentary trailer. To finally have the opportunity to watch the documentary in full was a moment. Director Nancy Svendsen and all those that backed the project have presented a gift. They’ve brought a story of a hero to life and incredibly, we hear a lot from the hero Pasang herself! That’s something that I really enjoyed about the documentary. It’s not overshadowed by experts and others.
The film has been beautifully narrated by Pasang’s eldest daughter Dawa Futi Sherpa and in a way, this film does not only unpack the journey of Pasang to Everest but it also gives us an exclusive entry into the journey of Dawa who’s tracing a path to rediscover her mother, a hero who she and her family has to share with the nation.
Throughout the documentary, what sticks out is the courage and committed nature of Pasang. “Giving up is not in the blood” is a line famously said by mountaineer Nimsdai, Nirmal Purja, but it is equally fitting here. From her run-ins with fellow mountaineers, hesitation from family members, politicians and policies and of course pointed questions and views from the general public – Pasang manages to rise above it all and we see that very clearly articulated by her.
The Pasang Lhamu Mountaineering Foundation will be leading the screening of PASANG in various parts of Nepal. The premiere in Kathmandu which doubled as a fundraising event helped generate funds to screen Pasang (in Nepali) in Province 1 and Province 2. The team have already started their own journey of fifteen screenings in the two provinces.
Pasang: In The Shadow of Everest will release across QFX Cinemas (Bhaktapur, Civil Mall and Labim Mall) this Friday, April 28th and Saturday, April 29th.
Photos by Amit Machamasi