“Spirit” is a celebration of the human spirit, shot on location across Nepal in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and at the Nagi Gompa, Namo Buddha, Tamang and Kanying Sherub Ling monasteries, as well as at Pashupatinath temple. The film’s action follows a community of nuns and monks, young and old, as they prepare for a major ceremony, and is based on a poem spoken from the perspective of a narrator questioning the nature of their own existence.
I travelled to Nepal over a year ago from December 2016 to February 2017, and while there shot the footage that would eventually make up “Spirit”. I wrote the poem on which the film is based prior to my trip, and the footage was shot across several weeks living in and amongst the various communities of nuns and monks featured in the film. Living amongst them, I found every single person I encountered to be warm, welcoming and generous; it was a truly humbling and enlightening experience. Since the film’s release it has been especially interesting to watch people interpret the poem in different ways. Although it was written with a specific meaning and intent, I’ve chosen to keep that meaning and intent to myself, so as to allow the audience their own interpretation. “Spirit” indeed poses questions, but at its core it is a celebration of the human spirit, offering a meditative, contemplative peek into Nepalese spiritual society. I also just want to mention what a joy it was working with the composer Patrick Shanahan – also an old friend of mine – on the film’s score. Patrick’s score adds an extra dimension to the film, elevating it to a new level. I now just can’t imagine one without the other.