Short documentary named ‘Chi Lupo’ – the Shertukpen Honey Hunters’ depicting the custom of honey hunting in the Sherdukpen community of West Kameng District in Arunachal Pradesh, won the second prize at the Roshani International Short Film Festival in Aurangabad.
The results were declared in a virtual event held on July 11, 2021. The documentary was also awarded the Best Documentary award at the 10th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival Awards 2020.
Director Kezang D Thongdok said that the idea to document the honey hunting culture of the Shertukpen community struck him when his friends and families asked him to capture this tradition of his community, which is on the verge of extinction.
“We don’t have many honey hunters left now in the community and those who are left are quite old. The new generation is no longer involved with this tradition. Hence, I decided to document the process for educational purposes and this way the documentary was shot,” Thongdok said.
“People do not do it for thrill and honey hunters are also immensely respected. It was also documented sometime around in the year 2006, however, it was not done professionally,” he further added.
“I did not make the documentary with the competitions in mind. It was shot purely for documentation and preservation purposes so that future generations can also witness this tradition,” he added.
The documentary was shot through June and July in 2018 and Thongdok’s three-membered crew accompanied a group of honey-hunters on an expedition to the Shra Numah hill near Thongri village. The shoot was wrapped up in four days, including the travel and editing took another week.