Nepal / Bhutan
Bhutan: Gross National Happiness and Ethnic Cleansing
Bhutan, high in the Himalayas, a Shangri-La and the land of the Thunder Dragon and a million butterflies. And the land that exiled almost one sixth of its population between 1990 and 1992 through violent ethnic cleansing to its neighboring countries India and Nepal.
The Headwind project focusses on the almost unknown story of the exiles from Bhutan and the resettlement of them by the United Nations to a number of western countries. This resettlement program is according to the UNHCR (United Nations Commision fot Refugees) the largest third country resettlement program ever.
Within the Empowerment Foundation this project has grown to the largest project we are executing and maintaining in 2010 to 2012.
© 2012 Empowerment Foundation
The Forgotten Exiles from Bhutan
Due to continuous funding problems and lack of substantial and workeable support from the community we work for, the White Stork Films production team is sorry to announce that we have decided to ABANDON the current concept of the Headwind documentary.
In 2013 the now private project will produce a series of short films (20 minutes) about sub-topics connected with the Headwind project. We do not work with a release scheme anymore as the work has become secondary to the other art projects we are working on these days. More information will follow in January 2013.
There are not enough funds available to continue our work as we did until this moment. We have no resources left to invest in the production of a feature length film. The current budget gap is around €20,000 for completion of the work and we do not have an idea as to how that gap can be filled.
All deadlines for post production and release of the documentary ‘Headwind, the forgotten exiles from Bhutan’ have been dropped.
All ownership of Headwind film (video) and photo materials have been transferred to the shared property of the director and co-director.
For further information contact us at email@example.com.
From 2010 to 2013 the Headwind Project is working on a documentary, a number of books and photo exhibitions with the aim to uncover the situation of the Bhutanese people who were exiled from their country through ethnic cleansing in the early ninetees of the past century. They have been living in refugee camps in the neighboring country Nepal after India had refused them a safe place.
The documentary and other products are in combination and seperately telling the story of these people and as such empowering them by having their history documented and published. this recognition for the exiles from Bhutan is of great importance because the UNHCR’s third country resettlement project will erase their camp life and history. Most of the exiles will start a new life (or have already done so) in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom. They will in the process within generations loose their culture and possibly even their religion and history. As most refugees, asylum seekers and exiles living in diaspora usually do.
Both books (UNFORGOTTEN and Headwind, Laxmi’s Story) have been published in September 2012. The exhibitions were held in September 2011 and the second exhibition is held from September 2012 until Summer 2013 in various locations in the Netherlands.
The Headwind project shows their life, the conditions they suffer and the challenges they meet.
The main product of the project is the documentary Headwind, the forgotten exiles from Bhutan, which is directed and filmed by Alice Anna Verheij and co-directed and co-produced by Eveline van de Putte in co-operation with local Nepal producer Vidhyapati Mishra and the Bhutan Media Society. The documentary is filmed on location in the refugee camps in Nepal, and in India and the Netherlands and covers the daily life and resettelement of the Bhutanese exiles. In interviews they tell what has happened and how they survived and strengthened themselves to obtain a new life in the west or remain in the refugee camps in Nepal. Issues like the fate of the non registered refugees whose number run in the thousands are not left alone. The documentary will after being finished travel the world to various film festivals and in a special edit become available for broadcasting.
While filming the filmmakers and photographers took thousands of photos in and around the camps. The best ones are exhibited in a number of exhibitions in 2011 until 2013. In 2011 the first exhibition in The Hague was visited by almost 800 viewers in its first few days after opening. In 2012 a major exhibition was held at the Domchurch in Utrecht with an visiting number of over 25,000 visitors. More information can be found on this website here.
Photobook and novel
In september 2012 the photobook UNFORGOTTEN by Eveline and Alice Anna and the novel Headwind, Laxmi’s Story written by Alice Anna were published. Both books can be ordered at this website.
The Empowerment Foundation is responsible for this projects financial management, fund raising, promotion and practical support to enable the filmmakers and photographers to deliver. White Stork Films from The Hague is taking care of production and post production and WoordenStorm Publishers publishes the books.
Headwind filmposter January 2012 version
More information on the Bhutanese Exile and Diaspora can be found on the documentaries special website www.headwindfilm.com.