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Do More of What You Love
Veemsen Lama served with the British Army for more than decade. He left to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker and a storyteller. He learnt the art of filmmaking through books, YouTube tutorials and watching films. In 2013 he decided to get a degree in Digital Film Production at Ravensbourne in London.
Born and raised in Chitwan, Veemsen Lama always had the inner desire to make films and entertain people. He took opportunity as it arose. Today, he has directed over 15 short films and more than five music videos. He has to his credit several recognitions among which are the ‘Best International Short Film’ at the London Independent Film Festival 2016, ‘BKSTS Student Film Of The Year’ at the Bradford Widescreen Weekend in 2015 , ‘Best Foreign Film’ at the El Dorado International Film Festival 2016, besides several nominations.
The father of a four year old daughter, Veemsen Lama says that his wife is his true strength, standing by him and helping him achieve his dreams. Excerpts from a conversation with the filmmaker and storyteller:
What inspired you to take up film making?
I get inspired by so many things… my surroundings where people do so many extraordinary things… the possibilities in very individual. People who live for others make me feel that I should do something for others. I hope to make films to create a platform for the many unsung heroes in this world. I want my films to make a difference, touching lives and bring hope and happiness to audiences.
How important is the art of storytelling?
It’s a difficult question. There are so many different ways to tell a story… so many mediums. But the most popular and strongest is the use of audio visual where audiences can easily relate to the story unfolding. Portraying life in a story is definitely an important art and perhaps that’s why people spend their money and time to experience this art!
You started as a self taught film maker then pursued an education in digital film production… How has this influenced your work?
It made my journey easier. Being self taught made me curious to know more. I was hungry to learn new things and being self taught initially gave me confidence to ask questions. It was almost like time travel. But if I had not taught myself, it would have been harder for me to cope with the others who were younger than me. Having a mentor makes a huge difference. We had many workshops and we had to meet deadlines and all this has positively influenced my work. When I joined Ravensbourne, I learnt also about networking, how to create market for my work, and the ability to learn serious stuff with fun and curiosity.
What makes a film special that people can connect with it?
From my experience, I keep the storyline simple and not complicated. It’s important that the viewer can see and feel and understand… make an emotional connection. If your audience feels connected with the story, it makes the film special! While the storyline is the most important aspect in a film, the presentation can make the entire difference!
What is the message you want to share through your films?
To bring positive change in society , to promote our culture, and to create social awareness. Sometimes I make films just for the entertainment value.
How important is it for you to be recognised for your work?
It is very important. When hard work gets recognised, you are encouraged to do more. When my graduation film “Maya” beat 60 universities and got recognised, it made me want to do so much more. It adds fuel to the fire in our soul!
What are your all time favourite movies?
China Town, King Speech, Inception, Conjuring 2
Who according to you are the greatest filmmaker/ storyteller of over times?
Christopher Nolan: he makes movies that make you THINK !
Do you regret leaving your previous profession? What did you learn from it?
As a solider you’ve to take risks. Being in the army was my dream and I gave more than a decade to this honourable job where I learnt how to be humble, punctual , professional, disciplined, different technical ideas and mostly it taught me to be a good human being and how to be worthy of others who believe in you.
I would rather die failing rather than not trying. I believe action creates results. I don’t regret my actions. I did what my heart told me to! I only learnt from my previous profession.
Does it help that you live in UK? Does it offer a different perspective on Nepal?
London is an international market hub. It is very expensive and you need to follow procedures whereas in Nepal you can find crew at low cost and least procedures to start work. Additionally the weather in Nepal is great. Living in UK has helped me sell my work in the international market, but I want to continue to make films in Nepal.
What’s your favourite genre to watch?
What brings your inspiration?
I love to travel and while travelling I see new things, different people who carries their own unique story… their simple, rustic life and the tremendous effort to survive. Besides travelling, good books, selfless people, philanthropists and achievers inspire me to do more.
I am planning to do a feature film and for that I’m looking for support from producers. I need financiers, investors and producers, and welcome anyone who wants to be a part of my project. You can log onto veemsenlama.com to know more about me. In 2017, I am also challenging myself to do one story per day!