Earth-Q: Documentary Screening at the ACMI
An award-winning documentary about the struggles faced by children in earthquake-ravaged communities in Nepal and a Melbourne charity’s journey to help them.
MELBOURNE-VIC, “Imagine trying to learn in a tin-clad classroom when it’s raining, you can’t hear the teacher and the classroom floor is flooded with water” says Melbourne filmmaker Mark Pinoli. “In summer it’s so hot that you have to go out of the class to cool off, or it’s so cold that holding a pencil can be a challenge.”
This is the reality many children face following the devastating series of earthquakes to hit Nepal in early 2015. The disaster left almost 9,000 people dead, three million homeless, and tens of thousands of classrooms destroyed or damaged, putting the aspirations of a generation of children at serious risk.
Schools that were destroyed were replaced with temporary classrooms consisting of tents, plastic tarps, or what amounted to little more than tin sheds.
Within a month after the earthquake, Mark, who is also the CEO of Melbourne based charity the Logged On Foundation, went to Nepal to help seven schools affected by the disaster. During his journey, he was able to film the impact the disaster had on rural communities and the struggles they now face to provide a quality education for their children.
Earth-Q, a Victorian production and a Silver Award Winner at the 2016 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards, is being screened at the ACMI on July 28. The success of the film was due in no small part to the hard work of a multinational team, with members from the Australian and Nepalese community in Melbourne and Nepal having given their time without question to help in the production.
“I felt honoured that many Victorians entrusted our charity with their gift for Nepal. After the earthquake, we were inundated with donations and offers of help” Mark says. “I often see generosity, but not on this magnitude – it was a magnificent show of trust and compassion.”
Australians are known for their generosity following disasters, but they don’t often know what happens with their donations. At least for supporters who contributed to the Foundation’s Disaster Appeal, Earth-Q is a document about how a small charity can deliver effective aid. “The film is kind of shareholders report for our donors and people interested in our work. They have invested in the betterment of the lives of others in a time of great destruction, irrespective of national borders, and we are proud to be able to report on the success of that investment through film” Mark says.
The film is also a portrait of Mark’s connection with the Himalayan region which began 19 years ago. His love of the mountain environments, culture and traditions kept him returning to Northern India, Tibet and Nepal. Moved by the struggles faced by children in marginalised Himalayan communities, in 2011 he founded the charity the Logged On Foundation.
“The making of the film was an intense and heart-wrenching journey and I have nothing but praise for the Nepali people and their resilience. I think that they are an embodiment of the human spirit to overcome adversity” Mark says. “I am thrilled that I was able to produce a film that not only brings attention to the serious issues faced by many Nepalese children, but highlights just how selfless, considerate and giving the people in the villages are.”
Earth-Q is a journey through the beauty of the Himalayan region of Nepal, a celebration of the welcoming nature of its people, and a witness to the appeals of teachers and parents for help to get their children out of tents and tin shelters and into proper classrooms.
Mark Pinoli, CEO, Logged On Foundation Ltd.
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