Nishat Kurwa on Tuesday, Apr. 5th
A forthcoming film with an unexpected angle on Kashmir’s beauty and decline has won the 4th annual Sloan Producers Grant from the producer of the Spirit Awards.
Film Independent awarded Nicholas Bruckman the $25,000 grant for post-production of Valley of the Saints, a feature film depicting a love story between a Kashmiri boatman and an environmental scientist.
Bruckman teamed up with Kashmiri American director Musa Syeed, who wrote the script that’s centered on the world’s only entirely aquatic society, the people of Kashmir’s famed Dal Lake.
“People row themselves to school, row themselves to work, and conduct all of their business on boats…they trade vegetables on small boats in the morning. There’s beautiful houseboats there, which tourists have come from all over the world to see. But it’s also a very devastated place, both from conflict and from environmental neglect,” Bruckman said. He said though the film isn’t focused on the country’s political conflict, the process of making it helped him understand what it’s like to live in Kashmir. Their cast and crew wasn’t untouched by conflict, of course, especially since part of the shooting happened during the most recent curfew imposed by India last fall. Stones were thrown at cast members, and the producers had to dole out bribes to keep the production moving forward. “What I have really discovered through this film is the real important of trying to go behind the headlines and trying to understand what it’s like to live in Kashmir,” Bruckman said.
We’ll be bringing you more from the producer and director soon. In the meantime, they sent us these stills from the film.