Injustice is invariably my chief motivator, particularly where women and children are denied their voice, or where a dominating force uses their power status to subjugate another person or people. It has inspired me to write articles, set up charities and projects, and now to make films.
The conflict between speaking your truth and judiciously keeping your mouth shut strikes a particular chord for me. Having grown up in a traditional, male-dominated household in Britain, where emotions were held in, I identify with Belmaya’s desire to conform to what society expects of her, yet being unable to suppress what she fiercely feels.
In 2006, I went to live in Nepal for 9 months, where I led the My World, My View photo project. It was then that I met the spirited teenage Belmaya. It wasn’t until the evening I left Nepal that I saw her true vulnerability. She broke down in uncontrollable tears. It touched me deeply. I felt she’d never before been valued or championed. She remained on my mind over all our years apart, until I finally found her in 2013. I have followed her journey into filmmaking for five years, from 2014.
I was determined that Belmaya should not be the passive subject of this documentary, but have an active role in the telling of her story. As she became a competent cameraperson, so she took more control of the filming, taking us behind closed doors to the heart of her life as a wife and mother.
Having the tools to tell her own story, along with the platform to express herself, has transformed Belmaya’s self-esteem. It has made me trust in the process of documentary filmmaking, and confirmed to me that we all need to be able to speak from our hearts and be heard.
Belmaya interviewed for community radio at Her Farm Films, Nepal