We reached out to our festival filmmakers to ask them questions about the experience of making their films.
What inspired this story?
We want to tell the stories of the people who share the landscapes with snow leopard. This is the story of a Cashmere goat herder who works at very high altitudes in harsh conditions tending his goats. In the past, because of the value of his goats if a snow leopard kills one a goat, there would be retaliatory killing of the cat. Now through a Livestock Insurance Program, he has options and no longer kill snow leopards.
Were there any surprising or meaningful experiences you want to share?
In the Village of Gya, they knew the film crew was coming. Both the women and the men working in the streets moving rocks and digging ditches until our vehicles arrived. They walked to a community hall to meet us. Bringing out their finest teacups, they served yak butter tea and gave thanks to each of us by draping a ceremonial scarf around our necks. They were so grateful that we would be sharing their story.
What impact do you hope this film will have?
With knowledge you can create empathy and support. To bring the stories from both the communities and the people who are doing the conservation work, I hope this film garners more worldwide support for the Snow Leopard Trust and their partners.
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film.
What drove you as a filmmaker to focus on the big cat species?
I was hired to produce a video featuring the Snow Leopard Trust founder Helen Freeman in 2004. Initially, it was to showcase her work as the founder of the Snow Leopard Trust. I was able to use donated footage from Mitchell Kelly and Hugh Miles and fell in love with snow leopards. October of 2018, I got to witness my first snow leopard in the wild. It was a thrill of a lifetime.