“Land Rover is so important to this community because everyone has a special emotion connected to them”
The Land of the Land Rovers is a brand heritage documentary taking us to Maneybhanjang, a remote village in the Himalayan foothills on the Nepal India border, where an incredible collection of original series Land Rovers, some up to 70 years old have become the lifeblood of the community.
The film itself is a story of the remarkable people from this area, highlighting the spectacular 31km journey they often make to Sandakphu for their means of living in these ancient vehicles. Towering gradients, rock-strewn tracks and treacherous weather are just some of the hazards faced on the journey to the hilltop village, which sits at an altitude of 3,636m and has far reaching views over the Himalayas and Mount Everest.
The challenges in telling this story were many. Prior to the shoot, we headed out to Maneybhanjang to cast the documentary. We spent four days exploring every inch of the village and the surrounding mountainside in search of the people you see in the film. While we wanted a lot of the film to be in the local Nepali dialect, we were keen to have an English speaking character for the lead driver so it was with great relief that we bumped into Tenzin (the young driver) on our final trip down the mountain, a Land Rover fanatic who restores vehicles himself from his mountainside homestead.
Once we returned with our full crew to shoot the film our main challenge was the sheer remoteness of the location. If we didn’t have the right kit with us, or anything broke, we’d need to improvise, something our local crew were masters of. Without the possibility of telecommunication on the mountain, messages were passed up and down the mountain via relay. While we wouldn’t want to do this again, this intensified the decision making process and played a part in the raw aesthetic that the film has.
Editing the film (along with a ream of social content) was just as exciting as the shoot itself. Working with foreign language characters meant that we were discovering elements to the story throughout the post production process which kept us on our toes. The most pleasurable element of the project was working with our friends at CHEAT to grade the mist filled images we’d captured along the way. We’d embraced some of the most treacherous weather conditions we can remember on this shoot, but the textures created in the grade made it all worth it.