To the East

2014/USA, India, Nepal/NR/11 min.

A story of exploration through geographic and cultural landscapes. Shot in India and Nepal in the spring of 2013 following a younger filmmakers struggle with globalization.

After leaving the United States for the first time, Kirk Rasmussen (director), finds himself in rural India, a place far off the map but familiar to his home country for all the “wrong” reasons. Asking questions of cultural integration and the effects of economic pressures in the ecotourism industry in Nepal and India; he is plagued by the competing ideas of a land untainted by the West, and at the same time, wanting to interact and find his place in the East.

The modernization of these countries has allowed us the information at home to access this place cheaply and easily, however this is done at the cost of cultural erosion. By making a documentary based in the photographic and poetic vision of the east, Rasmussen seeks to preserve the culture, only by acknowledging his role in destroying his vision by doing so. 

*To The East was distributed through the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) on the Exploration Film Tour, a series of films screened internationally in 2014. 

Film debut poster for Young Michigan Filmmakers Film Festival, 2014. The film placed 2nd in Documentary Short and was nominated for Audience Choice Award.