Tassia Kobylinska (Nepal/UK) 26'


A little girl lives alone in a temple in Kathmandu. Every day people come to worship her and pray for protection. They believe that until she reaches puberty, she is the living embodiment of the goddess Taleju and protects the kingdom of Nepal. The ancient tradition of the virgin Kumari means that girls as young as three spend their childhood living in a temple where they are worshipped and revered as a living goddess. Their power is such that they are believed to be the protector of the country and the king. But what happens to these girls when they grow into young women who menstruate and are therefore no longer valid as goddesses? Have they suffered a lost childhood, isolated from their peers, their families, school and everyday life? This richly visual documentary includes astonishing interviews with the living goddess and her family, ex-goddesses, child rights workers and worshippers in Nepal and provides insight into a mysterious life against the glorious background of the Himalayas.


Tassia Kobylinska has worked with community groups making participatory and social action videos since 1992. In 1999 she went on to complete a Masters in documentary at London University‚s Goldsmiths College where her dissertation film, a documentary film about women under the Taliban in Afghanistan, achieved great success and was showcased in festivals all around the world. In 2001, she worked for two years with Dawson Films making educational videos and documentaries about young people in care, in prison and with mental health projects. In 2003 she started Kumari: The Living Goddesses of Nepal with financial assistance from the London Production Fund. Working as an independent filmmaker, she wrote, produced, directed and filmed the documentary in Nepal with assistance from a Nepali crew. Tassia is a lecturer in film, video and media studies at London‚s City and Islington College.

Contact Information:

Tassia Kobylinska
Roving Eye Pictures
65E Richmond Road
London E8 3AA
E-mail: tassiak@hotmail.com

Co-presented with the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA)

©2005 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)