Who Will Be a Gurkha

Kesang Tseten, Nepal / England / Norway / Finland, 2012, color / black and white, DCP, 75'
Synopsis

The Brigade of Gurkhas has been a special unit within the British army for 200 years. Boys are recruited for the unit in the mountain villages of Nepal. In Who Will Be a Gurkha, director Kesang Tseten observes how these boys fare in this rigorous three-phase selection procedure extending over six months. The aspiring soldiers' physical condition, intelligence and motivation are all put to the test. It means that the selection isn't only a matter of fitness and muscle power, but also of the right mental preparation. The Gurkhas are known for their courage and fighting spirit, and they fight, just like regular British soldiers, in areas of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan. They consider it a great honor to be part of the brigade, but perhaps the British salary also helps. Some have prepared themselves well, while others got their training from shady "academies" that unfortunately don't give them the same advantage. Gossip and prejudice lead some boys to think that certain castes are getting priority over others, or that some positions are up for sale. But the selection procedure is "free, fair and transparent," something that the British commanders often repeat. Archive footage is alternated with recent scenes of the boys training and, in their spare time, singing. In this way, the film provides a broad perspective on a 200-year-old military tradition that still provides status to young Nepalese men.

IDFA is revamping its competitions September 1, 2015 | From the next festival edition, the IDFA juries will grant two awards in each competition: one for best documentary, and a special jury award. A new award will also be presented for the best international youth documentary. All jury awards will be presented on Wednesday, November 25.
Help crowdfund Laila at the Bridge September 1, 2015 | Against all odds, an Afghan woman risks everything to save heroin addicts in Kabul, and ends up also saving herself in Laila at the Bridge. The film was previously supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund. Now, directors Gulistan Mirzaei and Elissa Sylvia Mirzaei need your help to finish their film!
IDFA Awards given out in Durban, Montevideo and Sarajevo August 27, 2015 | Three IDFA Awards were handed out over the summer to promising projects pitched at three international film markets. As part of the awards, all winners will attend IDFA in November.

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