Breathtaking, poignant and mesmerizing, Manakamana is a documentary shot entirely inside the narrow bubble of a cable car, high above a jungle in Nepal, as it transports villagers and tourists to an ancient mountaintop temple. Filmed in 16mm and comprised of eleven rides (each a single take corresponding to the length of a roll of film), Manakamana is a tender, ephemeral character study of its passengers and a window onto the lush, rolling landscape of a country in transition from ancient tradition to modernity. The New York Film Festival calls it, “...an airborne version of an Andy Warhol screen test...an endlessly suggestive film that both describes and transcends the bounds of time and space.”
(Spray/Velez, 2014, DCP, 118 minutes, in Nepali with English subtitles)
Pacho Velez is Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Electronic Arts at Bard College and Lecturer in Design Ethnography at Parsons The New School For Design, and is an affiliate of the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. In 2010, he completed his MFA at CalArts. His earlier films and theater work have been presented at venues including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm, and on Japanese National Television.
Stephanie Spray is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Sensory Ethnography Laboratory at Harvard University; has a secondary field in Critical Media Practice; and is a fellow at the Film Study Center. She holds a Master’s degree in the study of world religions from Harvard Divinity School and a B.A. from Smith College. Her films have been screened internationally at the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, The Whitney Biennial, Vancouver International Film Festival, the Viennale, CPH:DOX, International Film Festival Rotterdam, DocLisboa, Anthology Film Archives, the Harvard Film Archive, Sehsüchte International Film Festival, the Himalayan Film Festival, The International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec, and Visual Anthropology Film Festival, with installations of her shorter pieces at Ethnographic Terminalia (2009 and 2010).