ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Asian Network of Documentary(AND) Fund

2022 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Category 1588 Real Estate Fund
Project Devi
Director Subina SHRESTHA
Country Nepal, UK,
Director's Profile Subina Shrestha is a filmmaker and journalist who pushes the boundaries of storytelling. Her work ranges from print stories in the New York Times to short fiction in virtual reality. Her documentaries for Al Jazeera have been used by various educational institutions, including Columbia Journalism School, SOAS University of London, and by human rights organizations in the Hague, to discuss modern day slavery and the Maoist conflict. Her news coverage on Nepal’s earthquake and its aftermath earned her multiple awards, including an Emmy nomination. She was nominated at the Rory Peck Awards for her camerawork while undercover reporting in Myanmar during Cyclone Nargis. She was a 2017 Nieman Fellow at Harvard and a 2019 Global Media Makers Fellow at Film Independent.
Devi is the story of a Nepali Civil War rape survivor, as she fights her demons in search of justice for herself and other survivors.

Devi Khadka, a Maoist former guerilla, is the only woman left alive after Nepal’s ten-year-long insurgency, who has been publicly identified as a survivor of gang-rape by the security forces. At seventeen, Devi was arrested, accused of being a Maoist, tortured, raped in custody by seventeen policemen, and then forced to have an abortion. Devi battled depression, joined the front lines of the Maoist army seeking revenge, and rose through the ranks. After the fighting ended, in 2006, she remained in the party and was elected to parliament. Hundreds of other women, raped by men from either side of the conflict, hoped that Devi would be their ally. Devi believed that the Maoist party would deliver justice, but the word ‘rape’ is missing from the history books being written about the Civil War. Disillusioned, Devi yearns to fight back.
Director's Note
I first heard of Devi in the early 2000s. My country was steeped in civil war between Maoist guerrillas and the then royal government, and I was traipsing through the jungle, as a young journalist/filmmaker, making a short film on Maoist women fighters. Devi was a legend then ? a woman who had been raped by the police, exposed by the Maoist leadership and vilified by the press. I was not surprised that she was unwilling to talk to me.
By 2019, Devi’s career had risen and fallen. She’d become a minister and then the leadership had cast her aside. I was known for my hard-hitting reporting on issues of social justice and gender rights. Devi came to me with her unopened diary, written at the time of her rape, and asked me to help tell her story.
It was while filming her personal story that Devi decided to devote herself fully to the fight for justice. You can almost see the cogs clicking in her brain as she slowly comes to the decision. As much as she has opened up to the team, the team has also been a support for her.
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