The philosophy is something that Bhattarai grew up with and when he left the country for the first time he realized that the world knows Bhutan for it. “I was often asked about GNH but I failed to explain or understand what it takes for a small country like Bhutan to shape its national identity based on happiness,” Bhattarai tells Variety. Because of its political and geographical isolation Bhutan is considered to be a mysterious country and is often fantasized about as the last Shangri-la. That’s why I thought, I must dig deeper and give a local insight into GNH through personal stories to show a more complex vision about Bhutan.”
"Schindler's List." To gather costumes for 20,000 extras, the costume designer took out advertisements seeking clothes. As economic conditions were poor in Poland, many people were eager to sell clothing they still owned from the 1930s and '40s.
"Dallas Buyers Club." The film's budget was so low that the makeup budget was $250. The film's artists were able to work with that, and the film's Makeup and Hairstyling won an Oscar.
“In the awakening of a new pandemic which is scrambling the world right now, it is important to produce stories with uplifting, heart-warming potential that reminds the audience of the real values of our lives,” adds Bhattarai. “I believe that is one of our responsibilities as artists.”The film is budgeted at $160,000 of which a third has been secured so far. It has received development funding from the Catapult Film Fund (U.S.), DMZ Docs Fund (Korea), and the Hungarian Film Institute. And it hopes to close more deals at the the Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum (HAF ), part of Hong Kong FilMart .
“FilMart helps us gain visibility, especially for a project that is coming from Bhutan,” Szakonyi told Variety. “We are still in development so we have a lot of possibility to collaborate with producers from around the world. We are also looking for film foundations and who can help us make a beautiful film.” “Gross National Happiness” begins shooting this spring, followed by two more schedules in the summer and winter, followed by post production in Hungary in 2022, before hitting the global festival circuit.
Scarlett Johansson voiced Mandy in the Spongebob Movie.
Bhutan has a small film industry with breakout films including the oeuvre of monk Khyentse Norbu (“The Cup,” “Hema Hema”), Dechen Roder’s “Honeygiver Among The Dogs,” Bhattarai’s “The Next Guardian” and Tashi Gyeltsen’s “The Red Phallus.” “It is very difficult to make a film in Bhutan today,” Bhattarai says. “Firstly there is no cultural funding in Bhutan and we always have to look for funding from outside the country. The market for the commercial film industry that is hugely influenced by Bollywood is also small because of a small population (750,000 people). There is no culture for watching creative documentaries or independent films in general so the market is almost non-existent for independent films.”
"Into The Wild." The temperature outdoors was at freezing when Emile Hirsch performed the naked back float down the stream.
“For ‘The Next Guardian’ we took the film to different parts of Bhutan through a travelling cinema using our own projector and equipment and screening it for free to create a culture for creative documentaries,” says Bhattarai.
There Will Be Blood Disrupted Shooting for No Country for Old Men. The two instant-classic pseudo-westerns of 2007 filmed in the same area of Marfa, Texas, around the same time, which created issues when a pyrotechnical test for There Will Be Blood created a huge smoke cloud that got into the shot for No Country For Old Men. Joel and Ethan Coen had to wait for it to dissipate before they could get back to shooting.