Alumni Kim Ramsay and her films have taken her all around the world.
Kim graduated from AFTT in 2011. During her first year out, she directed AFTT Uncut, the 4 part TV series for Foxtel’s Aurora Channel. Since then, she’s been working as a director & editor at a production company, working on projects for Charities and Non-profits such as CanTeen, Cancer Council, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Macquarie Bank Foundation, WWF, Cure Cancer and Hong Kong Guide Dogs. Her work has taken her to Hong Kong, Bali, Nepal and every state in Australia.
Her AFTT Films ‘The Boy Who’d Never Seen Rain’ and ‘Prudence Pecker’, have collectively screened at over 40 festivals in the USA and Australia. Together they’ve won 16 awards at US festivals, including Best Short Film - Winter Film Awards, New York; Best Director - Green Bay Film Festival, Wisconsin; Best Student Film - Maverick Movie Awards, Los Angeles; Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Short Film - Hamilton Film Festival, Ohio; Best Screenplay - Los Angeles Movie Awards and Best in Show NYC Filmmaker’s Film Festival.
Despite all the accolades, for Kim, it’s not about the awards, the achievements, the travel etc. It’s about the impact you can make as a filmmaker, as a storyteller, and it’s about the connections you create with people. And so, Kim has found her current project to be the most significant of her career to date - a feature documentary about the empowerment of disabled and marginalised women in Nepal.
In 2013, Kim partnered with an NGO called Seven Women with the hopes of making a doco telling the story of several Nepalese women as they became empowered within their lives -- single mothers, domestic violence victims, disabled women, and uneducated women who lived in remote districts and were at high risk of human trafficking. For the past 3 years, she has travelled back and forth to Nepal to capture the progress and show their journey.
Just a few months ago, Kim was in a remote village area in the hills of the Nuwakot District, 7 hours walk from the nearest road. She was the second Westerner to ever visit this village. The villagers opened up their homes to her. They shared what little food they had, and opened up to tell their stories on camera. Although they are some of the poorest people in an impoverished nation, they smiled and had a strong sense of humour.
Early one morning, Kim filmed Seven Women’s first ever literacy class to take place in the village. Over 100 brightly coloured women and girls gathered on a hilltop with the Himalayas in the background. They ranged from 9 years old, up to 68 years. For many of them, this was the first opportunity they’d had for an education. They cannot read nor write. Many of the women did not even know how to hold a pencil properly, and had to be shown by the teachers.
As she filmed the next few hours, Kim watched them learn; watched them smile, and laugh; watched them draw their first letters in their schoolbooks. She saw the hope in their eyes, the sense that this was a bright new beginning for them in many ways. This experience gave Kim goosebumps, and was the most beautiful experience she has ever had the opportunity to film.
After a successful filming trip, Kim returned to Australia, confident that she had collected some great material for the doco. And then, merely a week later, a large 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Over 9,000 people died, around 17,000 people were injured, over a million people have lost their homes and are in need of food assistance. It took 4 or 5 days for her to get word from the villages she had been to. All the houses in Chipling village were destroyed, lives were lost, most of their livestock were dead so they had very little food.
In the past week, she was sent photos of the devastation by one of the women in the documentary. The images show the remnants of their homes, for many a hole in the ground is all that remains. They depict the loss, the shock in their faces. The hope they once had is shattered. But what is most upsetting is the faces that are missing from the photos, because all Kim can do is wonder whether these people are still with us.
Anyone who wishes to support the earthquake relief fund for these village people can go to the SEVEN WOMEN website.
Kim will be heading back to Nepal in June and later throughout the year, to follow the short and long term rebuilding process in the villages.
Kim asks that any filmmakers keen to be involved in the documentary contact her, as she will need a hand in post-production and also potentially on some upcoming trips to Nepal later this year.
To visit the Seven Women The Documentary Facebook Page click here.
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