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3rd November 2017

Even  When I Fall has been short listed for the Discovery Award at BIFA – the British Independent Film Awards.
“The Discovery Award highlights innovation, uniqueness of vision, maverick filmmaking and risk-taking generally in fiction films with a budget under £500k”. 💥💥

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26th June 2017 

Festival Focus: Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 – Female Filmmakers

SHOOTING PEOPLE SHEFFIELD REVIEW BY MATT TURNER

“Also finding levity within difficult circumstances, Kate Mclarnon and Sky Neal’s commendably uplifting Even When I Fall also had it’s first screening at the festival. Made in collaboration with the circus group it depicts, Mclarnon and Neal’s documentary poses a specific format for documentary, one where the aesthetic and narrative ambitions sit line in line with the film’s secondary purpose, to promote and represent the community it is engaged with and offer agency to the protagonists, involving them actively in the telling of their own stories. Lead by two teenagers, Sheetal and Saraswoti, both former victims of child trafficking, Nepal’s first and only circus, Circus Kathmandu, hopes to rehabilitate the reputation of the circus arts, deemed less a mode of expression in the region than a vehicle for traffickers. Though essentially a fairly standard story of how art can serve a therapeutic function, Even When I Fall is gentle with its themes, character focused, patient with its story, and not at all manipulative, a world away from many similarly issued focused documentaries. Mclarnon and Neal both have backgrounds in ethnographic filmmaking, and with this film they mix a conventional documentary structure, story led and divided into developing chapters, with more distanced observational material built around a participatory filmmaking practice. The strongest scenes in the film are those that see Sheetal and Saraswoti talking not to the camera, but to each other, sitting high atop a roof and working through their experiences and feelings together, a conversation facilitated by the filmmakers though the creation of a conversational space, but not lead by them.

Travelling through Nepal to showcase their circus – one that does not have a fixed location and does not involves many props or much in the way of staging, but instead is interactive and educational and can be unpacked for those it is presented to – Sheetal and Saraswoti’s focus is as much upon entertaining with performance as educating with discussion, reclaiming their status as artists and confronting the stigma that their work has in the country. Though the success of their project sees Circus Kathmandu, despite humble and local beginnings, end up performing in Glastonbury (some of the most touching material is here, as the band of performers meet other circus performers from around the world and come to understand quite what they’re capable of, and how great the value of their work can be), the final notes are some of the most sombre in the film. After the disastrous earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015 devastated communities, took vast amounts of lives and disrupted homes and infrastructure, the Circus find themselves struggling – for funding, inspiration, an audience and a reason to continue. It is to the credit of Even When I Fall, as a film and wider impact project, that hope remains. As the performers in the circus use their platform to educate the audience about the reality of child trafficking, a problem which the documentary reveals has worsened since the earthquakes, the filmmakers behind the film use their position in a similar way. With a host of screenings planned within Nepal and India, and further plans to work with foundations, NGOs, campaigners and philanthropists for the film, hopefully the film, both document and tool, will in some small way, help Circus Kathmandu to find the means to carry on. Though steeped in continual trauma, Even When I Fall manages to retain a focus not just on suffering, but on recovery and growth”.

12th June 2017

Our first review – and it’s brilliant- thanks Screen Daily!

SCREEN DAILY SHEFFIELD REVIEW BY ALLAN HUNTER

“Circus Kathmandu is living proof that something positive can be salvaged from the darkest human suffering. The formation of Nepal’s first circus is told through the stories of two female victims of human trafficking as they rebuild their lives and confront age-old prejudices. Filmed over six years, Even When I Fall transforms individual experiences into a thoughtful, wide-ranging documentary touching on universal themes of the importance of education and the need for female empowerment. Further festival screenings and some theatrical attention should follow its world premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest.

One of the most beguiling elements of Even When I Fall is the admiring shots of the circus in action

Even When I Fall begins begins by informing us that 10,000 women and children are trafficked from Nepal to India each year, and a huge percentage of them wind up working in circuses. Saraswoti was taken when she was eight. At the age of 14, she married the owner’s son and was a mother of three at 17. Her life had changed beyond all recognition by the time she was widowed and reunited with her family.

Sheetal, meanwhile, spent eight years in a circus before she was returned to her family. She doesn’t know her true age or her original caste.

On one level, Even When I Fall is the story of these two young women coping with the bittersweet challenges of starting over with families that have become strangers to them. Nepal is no longer a place they can consider home and both of them have been robbed of a childhood and an education. “I was happier being in the circus,” Saraswoti laments.

The one thing they do have is a set of skills honed as circus performers. A circus programme at a rehabilitation centre provides them with the first chance to make something of their new lives using their existing expertise. Working with eleven other children who had been trafficked, they set out to form a circus free from the reputation for corruption and abuse associated with more traditional Indian circus shows.

One of the most beguiling elements of Even When I Fall is the admiring shots of the circus in action. Saraswoti has the graceful confidence of a natural born performer and Seetal shows amazing strength and poise when climbing and freefalling from silken ropes. As the renown of the circus grows, they start to resemble something from Cirque Du Soleil.

The circus became a huge success, performing around the world from Dubai to Glastonbury, but directors Sky Neal and Kate McLarnon resist the temptation to tug at the heartstrings and glory in this triumph against all the odds. Their film is so understated and immersed in the daily lives of the women that it would almost feel a betrayal to extract easy sentiment from their story.

Instead, Even When I Fall is understated and unobtrusive, allowing us to share intimate moments in the rooftop conversations between Saraswoti and Sheetal and times when they trade stories with other girls rescued from Indian circuses. Saraswoti recalls being beaten only where the marks would not be on display to the public. They grow and mature before our eyes, taking on a sense of responsibility towards others.

In the end, what matters in Even When I Fall is what the women do with their success, using the circus to entertain small communities and then informing them about the dangers of human trafficking and the advantages in educating a child rather then selling them for short term gain.

You suspect that Neal and McLarnon must have shot a huge amount of material over the years of production but the final result finds a clear path through everything that has happened to the women and quietly celebrates the sense of fresh hope they have been able to create”.

4th May 2017

Even When I Fall has been nominated for the Tim Hetherington Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest for the film’s innovative approach to a humanitarian subject. The award recognises a film and filmmaker that best reflect journalist Tim Hetherington’s legacy as a visual storyteller and human rights advocate.

 

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20th April 2017

We are thrilled to announce that Even When I Fall will have its world premiere at the brilliant Sheffield Doc/Fest!

This year the UK’s largest documentary festival seeks to shine a light on the triumph of the creative spirit; which is truly at the heart of Even When I Fall and Circus Kathmandu. The film will be screened on Sunday 11th June at 9:15 PM in the PBS America Show Room. You can Book your tickets here .
 March 2017

The Even When I Fall team had an inspiring and rewarding week in Copenhagen at  CPH: DOX 2017 with Good Pitch Europe pitching with a selection of other amazing projects. We are thrilled with the response and offers of support we received to assist us in achieving our outreach and impact goals.

https://goodpitch.org/events/gpeu2017

” Good Pitch brings together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society”.

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30th March 2016

https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sky-neal-kate-mclarnon/even-when-i-fall-seeks-to-empower-not-sensationalise-trafficked

 

November 2016:

Sundance announces it’s 2016 documentary fund grantees and Even When I Fall sits proudly amongst an amazing selection of films!

http://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2016-DFP-doc-fund-grantees

October 2016: 

Sky, Elhum and Julia (Even When I Fall’s fab new impact producer)   attended the Impact Producers lab in Finland in preparation for the Good Pitch,  Copenhagen 2017.

https://goodpitch.org

” Good Pitch brings together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policymakers, brands and media around leading social and environmental issues – to forge coalitions and campaigns that are good for all these partners, good for the films and good for society”.

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July 2016:

We are thrilled to announce that Even When I Fall has been awarded support by Fork Films:

“Fork Films creates and supports media that makes an important societal contribution, with a particular emphasis on projects that bring women’s voices to the forefront”. (Fork Films)

And also selected for the Bertha BRITDOC connect fund to help us with outreach and community engagement:

  “Films have inspired people to engage and to act. They have led to changes in law, policy and practice. They have affected the way people give and/or invest money. They have led viewers to question the status quo and to care more about their communities and the world around them. But for a film to achieve all this, it needs a structured outreach and audience engagement plan, and the capacity to implement it.” (Brit Doc).

https://britdoc.org/films/display/even-when-i-fall/

May 2016:

Thanks to all who supported our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.   With 708 backers we exceeded our target at £31, 071 – amazing!

Even When I Fall – Kickstarter Page

30th March 2016:

“‘Even When I Fall’ seeks to empower, not sensationalise, trafficked women”. An article in Open Democracy by Sky Neal and Kate Mclarnon

 

8th March 2016:

Read Co-Director Kate Mclarnon’s testimonial of the challenges of motherhood as a film maker for Raising Films– a beautiful, insightful and moving account of Kate’s journey.

Testimonial: Kate McLarnon