Every winter Mikma and her family travel by foot from their village deep in the Himalaya of Nepal to sell local medicinal plants in urban markets. This year, construction of a new highway to China has begun in their roadless valley, and things are never going to be the same.
Baato (n. [Nepali] 1. path, trail 2. way 3. road) is an observational film that tells the story of a young village family on an annual migration along the route of a coming trans-national highway. Partially complete, the highway project will transform this roadless Himalayan valley permanently and open up a direct transport route between Nepal and China – bringing new challenges, new opportunities, and ultimately a new way of being to those who live along its path.
The family travels first on foot and eventually by bus carrying medicinal herbs that they sell in the cities of the southern plains. As they journey south a road construction crew is at work laying a track deep in the Himalaya. A document of a time and place emerges – one that details life in the Himalayas before a new highway forever transforms this mountain landscape.
The documentary is a visual feast that glimpses the effects of development and globalization from the perspective of those affected most directly – it is a journey through the heart of a changing Nepal.