Filming in India – Part 2 – Ladakh

So after a successful week of filming in Varanasi we said goodbye to Audrey, Ruth and Dee…and our small (but mighty) film team of Frederic, Mark, Cheryl and Nick headed to northern India to film our second part of Lady Ganga..and the trip surpassed our greatest expectations.

Film team arriving in Leh Ladakh
Film team arriving in Leh Ladakh

As we mentioned before, when you go into a documentary project, you don’t know what you’re going to get. You just never know what kinds of twists and turns the film will take, or what kind of ideas or inspiration will strike…and in this case, our Kickstarter campaign allowed us to expand the scope of the project and it also led us to a man named Bill Kite.

Bill Kite runs an organization in Leh Ladakh, India called The Himalayan Women’s Health project that does free gynecological screenings for the local women during a week long camp. Bill saw our Kickstarter video and was inspired to donate to our film because the topic hit so close to home for him. After chatting with Bill and looking into what his health camp does…we realized that this would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the issues regarding cervical cancer in India and that it could possibly be an opportunity to test the impact of Michele’s story on the local women of Ladakh in one of the highest places on Earth!

Early Morning in Leh Ladakh
Early Morning in Leh Ladakh

So, after Varanasi we set off for the Himalayas with a plan. Our plan was to make a short version of Lady Ganga and have it dubbed into Ladakhy (a unique language to Ladakh spoken by only 150,000 people). Then we would take that video to the outer remote villages of Ladakh and show it to the local women and see if Michele’s story could inspire them to go get a free cervical cancer screening in Leh at the Himalayan Women’s Health project. Here is a windy update as we drove to one of these villages…

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We were on a limited budget…but upon landing in Ladakh we were taken care of by Bill Kite and his people. We were connected with a local man involved with the health camp named Dawa who became our local producer and we shared a guest house with some of the other doctors and dentists who came in from all over the world to be a part of The Himalayan Women’s Health Project. Ladakh is located between Pakistan and China in Northern India in an area referred to as “little Tibet”. The climate was drastically different from Varanasi, but after lugging around equipment in 110 degree weather for a week, the cool, crisp mountain air was welcomed.

As we were traveling over the "world's highest motorable road"
As we were traveling over the “world’s highest motorable road”

We filmed many many hours of footage there in Ladakh, where we stayed for almost 3 weeks. The short Lady Ganga film we had translated and dubbed into Ladakhy looked great and we did indeed take it to the villages. You can watch the Ladakhy video by clicking HERE

All we can really say is that we know it works. These amazing, hard working women who saw Michele’s story were inspired to get screened for cervical cancer. Along our journeys into the villages we found a secondary character for the film named Nilza and her family. Their story is going to blend so perfectly with Michele’s…and we can’t wait to begin melding those two stories together.

Filming the line outside of the Himalayan Women's Health Camp
Filming the line outside of the Himalayan Women’s Health Camp

There is so much to tell about our time in Ladakh…and we would love to tell you every detail…but we are also very excited about what happened there and want you to see it first hand when the film is finished. Instead, perhaps we can tell you what our new plan is.

After seeing the faces of the villagers and seeing first hand what kind of impact this film can have…we have decided to make a short 7-10 minute film of Lady Ganga and spread it around the world for free. We will dub this video into the top most-spoken languages in the world and put them all out there on the internet, social media, youtube and other means. Then, while that is happening we will also be finishing the full feature-length version of Lady Ganga, which will of course feature Michele’s story…but also include Nilza’s powerful story in Ladakh, Bill Kite’s program and feature the impact that Michele Baldwin, her family and the short Lady Ganga film is having on the world.

We are officially wrapped from filming. Footage is being converted now and the editing process and dubbing of the 10 minute short version will begin. Being back home in the states now, we are constantly reminded of the amazing people we had the chance to meet and film in India. There is a strength and serenity to the people in India and we can see why Michele was so enamored with the culture. Giving is in their nature and not once did we ever hear anybody complain about their situation. This only inspires us even more to spread Michele’s message, so that we can help prevent 6 different types of cancers and save many lives!

Filming Nilza's story during her cervical cancer screening
Filming Nilza’s story during her cervical cancer screening