‘To inspire ... to help’ Local filmmakers travel to Nepal for documentary

Grand Junction social activists and filmmakers Nicholas Moore, Joel Dyar and Ashley Bernal have never worked as hard as they did during a recent trip to Nepal.

In March, the trio flew into the capital city of Kathmandu as Positive Movement Films to shoot a documentary about the state of the developing country nearly one year after an 8.1-magnitude earthquake rocked the Asian nation, killing more than 8,000 people, injuring more than 21,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

The local filmmakers were there for two weeks to learn about the devastation and to hear from survivors about the effect the natural disaster had on their lives and the persistent issues the country is experiencing with efforts to distribute billions of dollars in pledged relief money to those who need it.

“I think the earthquake overwhelmed them,” Moore said. “They are being sent aid they don’t know how to disperse. We were able to ask a variety of individuals hard-to-ask questions.”

Moore and Bernal served as camera operators for the documentary while Dyar worked tirelessly as producer, setting up interviews and working with officials who were, or were not, interested in dealing with “those American filmmakers.”

The trio want to have “Nepal Will Rise: A Documentary About the Aftershock in Nepal” completed by this fall. Right now, Moore and Bernal are cataloguing footage and story-boarding the film, but they have finished a trailer that can be viewed at positivemovementllc.com.

“We wanted to talk to people on the ground about their experiences before and after,” Bernal said.

The goal was to make a film “to inspire folks to help,” Moore said. “We captured the long-term impacts of the earthquake and wanted to give the honest take of what’s happening here, the way goods are getting dispersed.”

Dyar worked to get Moore and Bernal access to people from all walks of life, including politicians. The film also features stories from bankers, farmers and others, Bernal said.

Although this was the first visit to Nepal for the trio, they aren’t strangers to service projects and international travel, particularly Moore and Bernal.

Positive Movement Films originally started years ago with the name Positive Movement, a Colorado Mesa University club formed to bring people together for things such as holding “Stay Positive” signs around town or traveling to countries such as India and Zambia for school and home construction and renovation.

“I’ve done service projects but never experienced a developing country in this state and interviewed people of all levels,” Bernal said.

The trio is looking forward to the finished project and premiering it in Grand Junction because the World Affairs Council of Western Colorado is a huge supporter of the filmmakers’ efforts in making this documentary, Moore said.

Moore estimated the documentary will be 45–60 minutes when complete. Filmmakers have yet to sit down and discuss distribution or film festival submissions.

In the meantime, Moore, Dyar and Bernal encouraged people to travel to Nepal because tourism money goes straight into the pockets of people who need it. They also encouraged people to find smaller, local nonprofits that work in Nepal that can get aid to the people who need it faster.

“We didn’t have a political agenda,” Bernal said. “We were open to listening to people.”

To learn about Positive Movement Films, a company using media to showcase musicians, travel destinations and humanitarian efforts, go to positivemovementllc.com or check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/PositiveMovementWorldwide/?fref=ts.


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