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Top 20 Alternative Picks for TIFF 2013: Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez’s MANAKAMANA

Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez – MANAKAMANA

Section: Wavelengths
Dates: Friday 6th, Sunday 8th, Sunday 15th

Buzz: Let’s be frank. The sheer immensity ingrained in the film’s proposition had our ears and eyes perked. Directors Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez weaved single shots lasting the entirety of 16 mm rolls of film together, freezing in time the high wire journey of pilgrims on their way to and from the ancient Manakamana Temple in the valleys of Nepal. But, it is the fact that the film was birthed from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Laboratory and boasts the producer involvement of Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, the directing duo behind last year’s monolithic seafaring docu-feature, Leviathan, that had us at this feature’s beck and call. At this point, those credits alone should have everyone’s attention. Spray and Velez’s feature debut (see trailer) is being hailed as a ‘sensory stunner’ by the TIFF programming staff. I’m already bracing for impact on this Locarno winner.

The Gist: High above a jungle in Nepal, pilgrims make an ancient journey by cable car to worship Manakamana.

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