By Steve Richards
Piles of Bricks (Revisited) features a lot of priests. But in their non-clerical roles - as earthquake survivors. So, we thought we would introduce you to a few:
All these folks were brought into our orbit by Amit Nepali who also edits our films so we are assured that what we present is both appropriate and something Nepalis can be proud of.
We have never personally witnessed divisions between the religions in Hindu dominated Nepal, but at a political level it exists in profound ways. Ways that we in the west really can’t quite appreciate. Imagine being a Christian, especially one on the more evangelical end of the spectrum, and not being able to covert a newcomer to the faith. That’s what freedom of religion in Nepal means: you can practice whatever religion you want but the constitution explicitly states that you cannot convert folks from other religions. Various rationales exist for this, but they are largely political with economic undertones. It is also historical in that, until very recently, Nepal’s leaders were proud of its unique status as a Hindu Kingdom. Interestingly, the aristocracy is gone, the Maoists are in, and Hindus still rule within this new democracy.
The official Piles of Bricks (Revisited) poster is ready!
Shot from a Lele rooftop two months ago it encapsulates so much, starting with the sun breaking onto the Kathmandu Valley. We see piles of bricks, rebuilt (and rebuilding) homes, and people working – always working. It shows the progress in a picture worth at least a thousand words, but only a couple hundred today.
Instead, we’ll let the image speak for itself and invite you to see where Lele and the other villages we documented in 2015 are today by joining us for the streaming/screening event of Piles of Bricks (Revisited) on April 25th - the five year anniversary of the quakes. And to see what we found in Lele in 2015 take a look at our original Piles of Bricks mini-documentary Villages click here.
If you would like a copy of the digital poster for your very own it is available only to those that pledge $10 or more to the Piles of Bricks (Revisited) Kickstarter campaign. Click here to make a contribution to the cause and get this awesome momento, a ticket to the April 25th streaming event, and more!
April 25th is coming - virus or no virus - and one way or another the movie will be screened on the 25th from Kathmandu! For more about the screening/streaming event click here.
Please co to PilesofBricks.com for more. Thanks!
Piles of Bricks (Revisited) Premiere Screening/Streaming Event April 25th live from Kathmandu and New York City.
Let’s go viral while keeping our distance on this worldwide update/remembrance of the 2015 Nepal Earthquake - Exactly 5 years to the day.
Yes, we know both Kathmandu and NYC are currently locked down. We also know that April 25th is a month away, which is an awfully long time to stay locked down. Either way we will be streaming the film in a virtual premiere on the 5-year anniversary of the 2015 Nepal earthquake with the film’s director, producers and quake survivors online.
Piles of Bricks (Revisited) is a new documentary about the earthquake rebuilding efforts, and is scheduled for release on the Nepal megaquake’s 5-year anniversary: April 25, 2020. Five years in the making it provides an update on how things are going now five years later and tries to shed a light on the question: Where’s the $4 billion the world promised back in 2015?
To see the trailer click here.
We are committed to screening the film on April 25 as we expect worldwide publicity to mark the five-year anniversary. Unfortunately, a proper premiere is not possible under current conditions, but we surely can stream it instead - as planned - on April 25th at 6 PM from Kathmandu when producer Amit Nepali will stream it directly from Jubal Studios in Lalitpur. And if we get lucky, perhaps people can organize in small groups and watch at a socially safe distance. Same thing in NYC with a second streaming of the film at 8 PM NYC time. Both screenings will include an introduction and Q&A afterwards from the filmmakers and our brothers and sisters in the film. This is a fluid situation so please stay tuned.
The event will be available for a $5 contribution to the Piles of Bricks (Revisited) Kickstarter campaign which is raising funds for the completion and marketing of the film. Click here for our campaign and secure your ticket! There are many other reward levels so check them out and make a pledge. Or, if you would like to just buy a ticket from our website click here.
Be part of this and share with your friends. It may prove a gracious diversion as we keep our distance, wash our hands, and pull together with others worldwide, especially those still very much struggling in Nepal. They are about to be reminded as we approach April 25th about all they have come through - while bracing for the next stinker their environment throws at them – like the Coronavirus. Something we all have in common it appears.
Go to PilesOfBricks.com for more.
Fives. TheoEco’s 5-year Anniversary and the 2015 Nepal Earthquake on April 25th - Exactly 5 years to the day.
So many 5’s right? Well for those of you expecting something about your favorite TV show, sorry for any disappointment. But please read on! And if you are bored start counting the fives (Answer at the end). Obviously, this is a trying time for most of us and folks are hunkering down all over the world. Hopefully we can provide an opportunity for you to take part in something outside the walls we are behind.
My daughter Bobbie and I were in Kathmandu last month as the Coronavirus was developing just over Nepal’s northern border in China. We were there shooting footage for our upcoming film Piles of Bricks (Revisited) a new documentary about the earthquake rebuilding efforts scheduled for release on the Nepal megaquake’s 5-year anniversary: April 25, 2020. A film five years in the making it provides an update on how things are going now five years later and tries to shed a light on the question: Where’s the $4 billion the world promised back in 2015?
Turns out that March 2020 is also TheoEco’s 5-year anniversary. We have put out several documentaries and assisted those we have met along the way, we became a 501(c)(3), put together an awesome board of directors, provided a job or two, worked with schools and churches, etc. Our website TheoEco.org gives a pretty good idea of all that we are doing.
We are going to use our anniversary as an opportunity to raise funds the good old-fashioned way: beseeching for the cause. To that end I invite you to participate in the Kickstarter campaign we are launching to raise funds for the completion and marketing of Piles of Bricks (Revisited).
If you are new to Kickstarter it is the most respected crowdfunding platform out there and projects must pass rigorous criteria to be part of their community. Their projects are “all or nothing” meaning that no pledged monies are collected unless we raise the entire $9,500 by April 20th.
Here are some more 5’s for you:
By Steve Richards
A month gone already? Seems like we just got here – and our blog is woefully behind. But we have SOOO much awesome 4K footage for our upcoming: Piles of Bricks (Revisited) our look at Nepal’s 2015 earthquake recovery efforts five years later.
What’d we do?
By Steve Richards
Is there a lovelier place to be than Kathmandu in January? The picture of the cool drink in the plentiful sunshine with UNESCO site Patan Durbar Square’s temples in the background speaks for itself, right?
We thought we would offer something light as we begin documenting the five-year anniversary of the April 2015 Nepal Earthquake. There is unfortunately - though not unexpectedly - much on the opposite side of things to present as we shoot Piles of Bricks (Revisited). There are few tourists around right now. It’s a bit chilly with low 40’s at night and high 50’s during the day. The drink? Just an iced tea – regular iced tea – Nepali style. That our server dressed it up in such accoutrements demonstrates a bit of the spirit of the folks here five years after the mega-quakes killed thousands and destroyed untold thousands of buildings on April 25, 2015.
By Steve Richards
I just have to share.
Meet Aadesh, who if not the happiest Christian is certainly the biggest handful at this weekend's services at Golgotha Church in Kathmandu. Not convinced by the mischievous grin? Then check out the video of him when the music starts and the spirit hits him. Just click on his picture.
What am I doing here? Bobbie and I are back to move TheoEco's Nepal 2020 forward with documentary productions, assists to the National Theological College and other projects, and research on a variety of issues affecting Nepal, from earthquake rebuilding to fresh water. We are also editing our USA themed documentaries here.
Aadesh is the son of Amit Nepali, TheoEco's Nepali director as well as the editor and a producer of all our documentaries. That's Aadesh's sister and mother (and others) trying to keep him from creating too much commotion, but when the spirit moves you there's just only so much you can do.
We are just getting started here and plan to squeeze a few months of activities into a few weeks. As always, thanks for reading and all your support.
(Originally posted December 2016)
By Steve Richards
Christmas in Nepal. The weather is sunny and a “coolish” 60’s in the day and 40’s at night in Kathmandu--and Christmas trees are everywhere! They can be found in Christian, Buddhist and Hindu households, in front of stores, in malls, everywhere! Just like home. Even Santa Clauses!
We are here for five weeks to complete a revisit to our “Piles of Bricks” documentary. We are going back to the places and people we met last year to see how things are coming with their earthquake recovery.
The world has pledged more than $4 billion for the effort and amazing progress is being made by individuals to get their houses rebuilt. But not with the $4 billion. That money seems to be in the clouds. We’ve met no one, no organization, no municipality that points to any of those funds as being significant to their rebuilding (aside from $150 given to homeowners shortly after the quakes in early 2015). And they’re not expecting it.
Homes, monuments, temples and the like are being rebuilt from the ground up by homeowners and independent organizations like the Kathmandu Preservation Trust out of New York City. TheoEco’s director Amit Nepali’s family has completely rebuilt a temporary version of their home complete with brick and plaster walls, a new bathroom, four bedrooms, a new kitchen, a living room, a recording studio, and so on. All with no insurance and virtually no government assistance. Not sure the building code is exactly up to spec but when you have 12 family members close to living in the streets during monsoons, you get moving, apparently. This is the story we hear all over – people doing for themselves as we’ll show in the film coming out in January at our TheoEco Miami Event on the 21st. For a country run mainly by communists, it seems familiarly Republican to us!
We are also shooting a new documentary before the summer concerning a big problem in Nepal: human trafficking. We are doing our first interviews this coming week in Sindupalchowk where we will be able to interview parents, victims, and others involved so that we can relate some of the realities of what is happening from here. Another documentary due in 2017 is on the water situation here, including the drinking water situation in Kathmandu, its almost boundless hydroelectric power potential, and the spiritual uses of the water whether it be Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or other.
We are also busy at home, shooting these past few months: “Miami’s Floods,” which focuses on the water situation in South Florida--and there are intriguing connections with Nepal, which we look for so that we can learn from each other. We are interviewing scientists, the Army Corp of Engineers, museum curators, and many others for this film; starting with the realization that Miami Beach is spending $100’s of millions for pumps, road elevations, and without arguing about what is causing sea-level-rise. It is simply a threat that city leaders feel they must deal with and they let us in for the documenting of a blue-ribbon panel discussion before the last king tides, and we’ve kept running.
But first we need to wrap up “Piles of Bricks–Revisited” and its companion, “The Flourishing Kathmandu Church,” a retrospective of the Christian Church in Nepal also due by the summer.
So, for now, Merry Christmas from Nepal and we hope you enjoy the brief video from your Anglican friends from Golgotha Church in Kathmandu Christmas caroling a few days back at Amit’s house. He’s doing the principal singing and produced this over the past few days as the church’s greeting to all.
By Steve Richards
My first trip to Nepal in January 1998 is memorable to my family, friends, and co-workers as a time I went missing – or worse. I wasn't, just on a trek with a couple Austrian Buddhists I met on the train from Delhi to the Nepal/Indian border. They were on their way to Pokhara to see the sun rise on the Himalayas from Poon Hill - 10,000+ feet up in the foothills of the Annapurna range.
Getting there was a three day hike up mountain trails in use for thousands of years alongside the raging Kali Gandaki River fed by glaciers high up in the world's tallest mountains.
Even though I was much younger, my pack was too large, and my exercise regimen too weak, to make walking in these parts anything but a challenging (read painful) experience. And the most life-changing experience I ever encountered. I suppose it's like that for many from our neck-of-the-woods.
I had told everyone at home not to expect me for a month as I was on vacation and was heading to India for my roommate's wedding; I was to be in the wedding. Unfortunately, I never actually received a written invitation with an address, and absent-mindedly figured someone would be waiting for me at the airport. So, after a couple days of trying to locate my hosts I decided to head to Kathmandu and see what Bob Seeger had been singing about in my youth.
Suffice it to say that when I didn't show at the wedding most were concerned, and my mom got a call that her son had gone missing. Fortunately, she knew me well enough not to worry too much.
All were relieved when I finally found a phone and called home from Ghorepani, the village at the base of Poon Hill, and where we are heading on our latest trek. I'm hopeful my cell phone will do a better job of keeping us plugged-in than the occasional landline we depended on back then.
We are heading back to Poon Hill on our latest Nepal 2020 trek in January and invite those that want to come along to join us. For more click here. You can also meet some of those that will lead us at the premier of A Kathmandu Christmas screening on December 28th.
We are also raising funds for all these efforts so please consider supporting us at our Nepal 2020 fundraising page.
Thank you and we hope all are enjoying a happy holiday season.
We are preparing for the premiere of A Kathmandu Christmas on December 28th at 6:00 PM EST. We will be streaming the film everywhere and look forward to having folks from the film available for Q&A direct from Kathmandu!
One of the film’s highlights is when the children go to "Sunday School" even though Nepal’s Christians mostly attend services on Saturday, their one day off. The Nepali family whom we meet in our first mini-documentary “Piles of Bricks-Patan/Lalitpur” are now in their church: Golgotha Church in Kathmandu where Rev. Shyam Nepali is rector. Amit Nepali and the band start the service as he does most, leading the gathering congregation in a half-hour of praise music before things get started in earnest. There’s lots of music throughout – some familiar and some not. You’ve never heard “How Great Thou Art” like this! For more go to Sunday School on Saturday.
You can tune-in and even co-host A Kathmandu Christmas for your organization. Click here for tickets in person at St. Luke’s in Miami or to stream it online.
Come see and share A Kathmandu Christmas with us on Saturday, December 28th!
For more information contact us.