Durga: Forging a New Trail

2021 MOFF Official Selection

About This Project


Emily Hopcian, La Cumbre Collective

Total Running Time:


Filming Location:


Filmmaker Origin:



34-year-old Durga Rawal is the only guide of any gender from her village in northern Nepal. In a country where gender roles are well-defined, DURGA is a story of defying cultural, societal and familial expectations to pursue an independent life.

This film to be screened:

8/5/21 – The Androscoggin Program

Special Note:

New England Premiere

Three thoughts from the filmmaker:

1. Our cast and crew is made up of individuals from Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, India, Mexico, Nepal and the United States. Throughout production, we spoke English, Nepalese, Hindi, Spanish and Flemish.
2 & 3. Making and sharing this film has been humbling and so challenging. I actually have a running document that highlights lessons learned throughout this journey. Time, budget and language were some of the biggest challenges for me. With more time and budget, I feel we would’ve walked away with a different story. The story we captured with Durga is strong and powerful and will resonate with audiences, yet I also know there are so many ways to tell the same story. In terms of language, we intentionally filmed all of our interviews, including Durga’s, in Nepali. While I stand by our reasons for doing so, I also realize it presented unique challenges during production. Through it all, collaborating with Durga, Alan Schwer, Kopal Goyal and so many others has been a gratifying experience. I feel the diversity of our crew—with regard to language, gender, nationality, culture, etc.—is also one of the biggest blessings and something that contributes to the strength of our film overall.

2021 Award Winners, 8/5 Eastern Promenade, The Queen's Planet Program