Lava Pyakurel is not a new name for the lovers of documentary film.
He has invested 23 years of his life in making more than a hundred non-fiction and fiction films. Hundreds of his work that include TV talk shows, television serials, documentary films, news clips, public service announcements etc that have been broadcasted on different Nepalese televisions. His expertise lies in editing films. Pyakurel is popular and successful in this field and the documentaries edited and directed by him have lured lots of audiences.
A documentary entitled ‘Panchayat ko Ghau’ or Wounds of Panchayat became very popular in 2065 BS. The documentary contains the story of domination, brutality, and cruelty that were imposed upon the hundreds of poor and marginalized people by the rulers of the then Panchayat system. Pyakurel directed and edited the documentary that was shown in Nepal and abroad. The documentary received the highest attraction during Nuwakot National Documentary Film Festival 2065. The documentary has received many national and international awards.
In addition, more than two dozen documentaries edited by him have taken part in national and international festivals. Pyakurel has received the title of the best editor from the documentaries like ‘Jilko’, Uslai Fansi Dinuparchha’, ‘Birsieyaka Mahilaharu’, ‘Nijamati: Under Fire’, ‘Rato Akash’, ‘Sagarmatha ko Pratibimbha’, ‘BargaSatta’, ‘Pustantaran’, ‘Aadhunik Nepal and Prithvi Narayan Shah’, ‘Raute: The last nomads.’ etc. He is honored with more than a dozen honors.
“Mastering the tools and process of editing is not sufficient for an editor.” Pyakurel says, “The ability to understand the structural theme of the audiovisual world, theatrical skills, and knowledge to understand its tuning.” He asserts editing skill is one of the major parts of a film. The documentaries like, ‘Sherpa: The True Heros of Mount Everest’, ‘Rescuers of Mountains...’, ‘Raute: The Last Nomads’ etc. directed by Thapa are exclusive for him. He finds Hari Thapa more creative and different than other directors he worked with.
According to Payakurel, Thapa had spent 6 months in research before making the documentary on Raute. Pyakurel was assigned to edit the documentary for which he had to study humanities and sociology for 6 months to understand its underlying idea. After the study, he edited the documentary. He and Thapa have worked in many documentaries collectively and received some international awards.
In the early days of his career in the film industry, he faced some hardships and challenging situations. But, he has a queue of tasks to complete after his recognition as a skilled editor. Now he works for only selected films and documentaries.
The primary trend of storytelling is similar among Nepali movies. The mainstream style of Nepali movie is presenting an imaginary story through the use of plot and dialogue. In these movies, the editor has a limited role. The primary focus of the editor in such movies is to understand the tuning of the director. But, documentary films are based on the fact and truth. The editor has a significant role in such films. He has to work hard in observing the reality and the liveliness of the subject matter.
“An editor should be patient, alert and laborious.”, says Pyakurel, “This is why I love to work in the documentaries.” Pyakurel’s editing career began with the editing of a political fiction documentary film named ‘Jhilko’ and now he himself trains people in this field.
He is giving training on visual editing at Yatra Media and Progress Solutions. He also provides exclusive classes to the mass communication and journalism students on audio visual tools and post-production process with the theoretical aspects of filmmaking and visual storytelling.
According to him, one can earn very good income from documentary film editing these days. “The documentary makers expect very high from the editors.” Pyakurel says, “Filmmakers should understand that the internal capacity of a person is a secondary aspect when the primary aspects are the subject matter, raw visual, newness in presentation, and creativity in style.”
He advised youths to take basic education before entering this sector. He says, “You will be more secure in the documentary film sector after your basic academic qualification.”
In the past, people did not have interest in documentary film. Until the past two decades, movies were used to be blamed as a means to disguise youth. Now time has changed. The documentary films are progressing in a rapid manner. These films are attracting the audiences well. The market has expanded. They are using maximum technology. The professional status also has improved. As there are sufficient subject matters, many new documentary filmmakers are entering the field. It has fueled the possibilities of documentaries in Nepal, says Pyakurel. (Presented by Sharmil Thakuri)