Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Gettin' Leh'ed!

SECMOL - Short Documentary Film - Ladakh, India
In 2012, during our 33-day backpacking trip in the Himalayas, Ladakh(of course) was an eye-opening, mind-altering drug-stop. I say mind-altering because it really was one hell of a trip to yonder-land, or should I say, a different planet altogether. And vacation is a bad word to use here, because if you are taking a trip to the Himalayas, especially Ladakh, it is an adventure that will rattle your bones(literally and figuratively) and your core. It will change the way you look at things, people and what-the-hell - life itself.
And during the stop-over there, we called up our then-new friend, Sonam Wangchuk, the revolutionary extraordinaire and a simple man with a singular vision. We didn't know much about him then, as we were wondering where really we were heading when we took the taxi to Phey, about 18 kms from Leh city. We only knew that he was the founder of SECMOL(Student's Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh) which was founded in 1988 by him and a group of young Ladakhis with the aim to reform the educational system of Ladakh.
It is rumored that Sonam Wangchuk is the real-life Phunsuk Wangdu, the character played by Aamir Khan in the Hindi film, 3 Idiots. But anyways, during our stay there and our interactions with him, his team and the students, we realized that there's a lot than meets the eye. We observed that students identify themselves with their Ladakhi culture, as Ladakhis, and rarely do they associate themselves with the Pan-Indian identity. Like hell that's necessary. But well, let's get to this.

This short profile documentary film was shot in 2012 as a way of bringing to light the result of the efforts of Sonam, who has created waves in educational and cultural reform. We filmed this during our 1 week stay at SECMOL, volunteering for them, teaching Ladakhi students and culturally exchanging ideas and basically having a great time with them.
A couple of changes to the above film:
1. Rebecca should have been labelled Volunteer Advisor/Instructor instead of Co-founder as labelled above.
2. The volunteers for ice-skating are from various countries in the world as opposed to just US or Canada, as mentioned above.
Camera provided by Subheer from Always Outbound.
Created and presented by us, yours truly, the Accessible Horizon Films team.

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