Their story, in their words…
“I have never stayed in one place for more than five years. The thinking, opinion and the societies I have experienced are different. So how can we judge who lives the better life? Does the person living in the UK who has all the facilities available, has a better living standards, lives the better life or a person who has limited facilities available, who walks to school which is 7-8 Km away, has a better life?
To answer all these questions I decided to make a short documentary film comparing the life of two people living in different parts of the world. 19 year old D’Andre lives in London (England) and has everything she needs, good education, better opportunities, good health facilities and better transport system. 14 year old Shivani on the other hand lives in a rural Village called Mandholi in Himachal Pradesh (India), which is a mountainous countryside with less opportunities, the secondary schools are very far away, hospitals are in the city which is far away from the village and because of the tough terrain there is no connection to city through a bus, so she has to walk almost everywhere.
It was a tough decision for me to film because I had no filming experience at all. My school very kindly allowed me to film D’Andre at school in July and her mother agreed to let me in their house to film her. Then in August I filmed Shivani in India. Filming there was even harder, I have always lived in cities and have a very less walking experience, so following Shivani in that hilly area and in such hot and humid weather was a new challenge for me. Everything was going very well, then my hard drive got corrupted and my laptop broke down. I thought that all my hard work and struggle was of no use because I didn’t have a backup. Finally a local mechanic was able to help me.
Friends of the Mark Evison Foundation at Thomas Thomas films are helping me edit the film. It took me three months to complete this project, but I’m glad I had this experience.
When I asked Shivani whether she is happy from her life, and she answered “I love my life, I’m very happy and I’m proud that I have such a nice family to support me. I would not choose to live in a city like London even if I get a chance because I love my country.” When I asked D’Andre, she said ‘a person living in a village can have a better life, because they can grow their own food, can get electricity and gas, have roof over their house, so living in a village is not that bad and there is nothing bad about it.” And she also said that she is happy with her life.
I would like to say that I can not judge their lives, but it’s the viewer’s perspective to decide, by looking at these two girls, whether they themselves learn something from it or not.”