Friday, July 25, 2008


For Immediate Release
Please contact 727-209-1745, Shannon Strischek

By, Shannon Strischek

July 25, 2008 - In the past couple of months, Nepal’s government has undergone extraordinary changes. The nation elected its first president this week and Wednesday the UN Security Council voted to extend the UN mission in Nepal to help with the peace process. Despite recent hopes for peace, there is one thing many people fear could upset the process.

“Many people fear that Prachanda, the leader of the Maoist party will agree to become Prime Minister of this new Democratic Republic,” says Bob Koening, who interviewed Prachanda during the time he spent making his newly released documentary “Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal Maoist Army”.

Prachanda is the leader of the largest political party in Nepal, the Communist Party of Nepal run by the Maoists. Prachanda has received worldwide criticism for his party’s role in the death of thousands and the inclusion of child soldiers in the ten-year-long Nepalese Civil War.

“We were lucky enough to be given an exclusive interview with Prachanda while filming a story on child soldiers recruited to fight with Maoists,” Koenig continues. “That was before Prachanda was asked to become Prime Minister and the Maoists didn’t know they’d win the elections in such a dramatic fashion.”
Koenig is releasing portions of the interview because of its international importance. The clip shows Prachanda’s dislike for American foreign policy.

Here is a transcript of the available clip. It may be viewed at: .

“American policy is not good. America's foreign policy, in general, is not good. See what has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mid-east and everywhere throughout the world; it has been terrible due to their bad foreign policy. American policies are against people. Even in the case of Nepal, we made a 12-point agreement before we stepped into peace process. America was opposed to us. We entered into a peace process, and they opposed. Even now, it hasn't removed us from their terrorist list. American foreign policy is not good for the people of the world. America is not doing anything satisfactory. We think they have to rethink their policies."

“We want a new Nepal, we want to see all Nepalese free, and we want this through constituent assembly,” says Prachanda in the interview. “We would like to especially want to tell you all not to be suspicious about our intentions to hold constituent assembly election.”

“Returned: Child Soldiers of Nepal’s Maoist Army” is a documentary video that follows several Nepali youths as they attempt to reintegrate back into civil society after their association with armed groups linked to the “People’s War.”

A preview of the film can be seen on The film will be screened in November during the Society for Visual Anthropology's annual Film, Video and Interactive Media Festival as “Best Student Film”. It will also play during the United Nations Association Film Festival Film this fall.
To arrange an interview with Robert Koenig or film researcher Brandon Kohrt, please contact Cassie Bouldin by phone at 727-209-1745 or by email at .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


by, Shannon Strischek

Atlanta, GA (August 20-24, 2008) – From “Inconvenient Truth” to “Spellbound” documentaries seem to be big business these days. It’s no surprise then, that the 3rd Annual DocuFest is expected to draw big crowds in Atlanta this August. Decatur filmmaker Bob Koenig hopes his own film will steal the show at DocuFest ‘08.

“Nepal is going through the worst political crisis in its history,” explains Koenig. “The monarchy has been abolished and the Maoists, the former guerilla insurgents, have taken control of the government.”

The collapse of the 240 year old monarchy is due to the continuing success of the "People's War", launched in 1996 by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist). Even today, a bloody conflict continues to claim lives.

“Returned: Child Soldiers of Maoist Nepal” looks into one of the most condemned crimes of the Maoist army: the use of child soldiers in fighting forces, particularly the Maoists continue their commitment to recruiting students, sometimes as young as ten-years old, from primary schools.

“This film has the potential to influence people in the US and other developed nations around the world to take action,” says Koenig. “It can help these children at the macro level and at the political level.”

Already the film is garnering a positive response both nationally and internationally. Although its debut will be at DocuFest, it is slated to air during the United Nations Association Film Festival and has received a jury award from the American Anthropological Association.

“All the political parties involved in Nepal, including the U.S. government’s representatives, don’t want the truth uncovered,” Koenig says. “They don't really want justice, they don't really want to find out who was involved in which atrocities, because they are all somehow linked to criminal acts of violence.”

Koenig spent over two years researching and making the documentary. The film’s Director of Research, Brandon Kohrt, an Emory M.D./PhD candidate, is continuing to conduct interviews in Nepal until his return next month.

DocuFest takes place August 20-24, 2008 during the Atlanta Underground Film Festival. Individual tickets are $7.50 but $35 covers an All-Access-Pass for any film during the four-day-festival.

To arrange an interview with Bob Koenig, please contact Shannon Strischek at 727-209-1745 or by email at

High Resolution Images Available.