Coping with extremes is part of life for people across the Himalayas. Uncertain summers follow freezing winters, as monsoon rains deluge the mountains, carrying the danger of landslides and floods. But in June 2013, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, conditions fatefully aligned to produce an unprecedented disaster.
At Kedarnath, a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, thousands of pilgrims and locals were faced with a once-in-a-generation catastrophe. Floodwaters and debris tore through buildings, roads were swept away, and thousands of lives were lost.
Three years later, the river cuts a calmer line through the Kedar valley and the sounds of mule bells and tramping feet rise and fall again along the pilgrims’ trail. In ‘Facing the Mountain’, through the words of survivors, local elders and new visitors, we are shown a portrait of a place where the events of 2013 have taken their place in a larger story. The enduring story of the region is not one of tragedy, but of resilience, of faith, and of eternal change.
Directed by Ross Harrison and Vaibhav Kaul
Producer: Vaibhav Kaul (vaibhavkaulhimalaya.wordpress.com)
Camera and Editor: Ross Harrison (r-harrison.com)
Composer: Juliet Aaltonen (sound.julietaaltonen.com)
The idea for this film was developed by Vaibhav Kaul as part of his research into disaster risk reduction in changing mountain environments, which is supported by the University of Sheffield and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
More info: facingthemountain.com
A short article by Ross about making the film and its themes: http://bit.ly/2eY4imV