In their new film Children Of The Snow Land, documentarians Zara Balfour and Marcus Stephenson tell the incredible story of a group of children born in the High Himalayas of Nepal, an isolated area of rare natural beauty but where life can be very tough, especially in the winter months. From the age of 4, children from the region are sent by their parents to the capital city Kathmandu to a boarding school run by a Buddhist monks in the hope that education might help lift them and their families out of poverty.
For 12 years, the children are not allowed to visit their parents, therefore missing out on some of the most crucial moments of their young lives. Upon graduating from school the teenagers are expected to make the long journey back home to their remote mountain villages, where for the first time they are to meet their parents again. Having been brought up in a world of mobile phones, social media and global news, the teens are a million miles away from the humble beginnings of their own parents. But when a powerful earthquake strikes the area, the community is glad for the help of its children who have grown up knowing how to fend for themselves whilst helping others.
Balfour and Stephenson manage to capture the most fleeting physical interactions between family members who despite having been estranged for so many years are still able to relate to one another almost instictively. Shot in 2015, the film does a great job in highlighting the growing reach of globalism even in the most remote parts of the planet all the while allowing us to spend time amongst some really special, highly skilled and brilliantly well-informed group of young people who despite having left home all those years ago, still feel very much part of their community. Truly outstanding work from the filmmakers and their very generous subjects.
Children of The Snow Land is out now.