A documentary about Nepali children working in Bhaktapur’s brick factories has been selected for 17 international film festivals and has already won four awards on the international film festival circuit. The film, titled Dust (Chhaaro), is directed by Deepak Tolange, a Kathmandu and Berlin-based filmmaker and photographer.
The first chapter, ‘The Makers’, documents the life of Panchalal Tamang who manufactures bricks together with his family in Kavre. While the second chapter, titled ‘The Transporters’, is about two Dang-based workers, Arjun Pun and Bishnu Pun, who transport raw bricks from the fields to the kilns, the last chapter, ‘The Loaders’, documents the labourers who load the finished product onto trucks to send it to the market.
All of the subjects in the film are below 14 years—kids who dropped out of school to help their families survive.
“Dust explores an ethnographic story but is more playful than academic,” director Tolange said “The children were definitely working on the job out of compulsion so it is child labour, but the film is more concerned about migration and about uncovering their lifestyle than about just exploring human rights.”
The film has so far been screened at the Parnu Film Festival in Estonia, where it won ‘Best Film’, Anthropofest in Prague, Toronto Nepali Film Festival, Ethnokino in Zurich, and the German International Ethnographic Film Festival, among others.
In the coming week, the film will be participating at the Global University Film Awards, taking place November 7-9 in Hong Kong.