Hope From The Himalayas
Global Healing Starts With Just One Leaf
Hope from the Himalayas
focuses on a Nepali tea company’s mission to produce healthy herbal infusions while helping Himalayan Farmers change their belief systems about selling their daughters for trafficking.
It’s a true story of one man’s journey to heal a community steeped in a 200-year mindset, one herbal leaf at a time.
Hope from the Himalayas
Grown in the heart of the Himalayas, herbal teas and infusions have long been a sought-after remedy. Based in his homeland Nepal, Santosh Shah is not only an accomplished internationally working youth leader, but also co-runs a family business focused on the cultivation, harvesting and distribution of these herbs.
What makes Santosh stand out, and predestined to be the leading character of the movie, is his unwavering focus on development not to maximize profits, but on including and supporting those who do the actual work of planting, growing and harvesting the herbs: women in rural communities in Nepal, like Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot or Dolakha.
In these villages, men are still dominant and women are to get married and serve as cheap labor in the fields. And then there is the danger of trafficking – when moving to a bigger city in search of a better life, young women often become victims of trafficking. Or worse, their family sells them off at an early age.
Santosh has set out to change that, one leaf and one woman at a time. The film shows this gentle yet strong young leader as he navigates the challenges of updating a traditional family business into a global operation, and portrays the women who he empowers on their path to personal safety and independence. Under Santosh’s guidance, young women learn how to grow specific herbs, how to harvest, store and sell – traditionally male domains. Not having access to family finance and a bank account has been a traditional predicament for women, so they also learn how to register and operate a bank account, and budget their income and expenditure.
The narrative begins in Santosh’s hometown Kathmandu, and from there continues to the remote regions where the herbs have been grown for generations. We travel with Santosh from village to village, and the picture of a traditional society in the process of modernization unfolds, reflected in the changes Santosh is trying to implement, and the faces of the workers who thrive under his guidance. Resistance, challenges and problems are as much part of this process, as there is progress and accomplishments.
To complement the picture, we interview members of farming families, political leaders, and a priest at a local Hanuman temple. Hinduism is the traditional and still dominant religion in Nepal, and we receive unfiltered insight into the role it plays in the oppression of young women.
Since the herbs are also cultivated in India and in Sri Lanka, we travel to these places, providing unique access to the stories of how local workers are uplifted and empowered by the opportunity given to them.
Part political Documentary, part travel Doc and part the portrait of a charismatic community leader, Hope from the Himalayas takes the viewer on a journey to places never seen, and stories never told before in a changing Nepal, perceived through the eyes of a visionary humanitarian on his path to create a better future for the youth of his country.
Mission & Purpose
Hope from the Himalayas
Hope from the Himalayas is focused on amplifying the voice of its charismatic protagonist, Santosh Shah and spotlighting the lives of the women in rural communities on their path to more economic and personal self-determination.
Approaching our protagonists with respect and the intention of supporting and uplifting them, we hope in return the film will raise awareness for the viewer, inspiring them to learn more about the lives of those portrayed in the film, while at the same time highlighting the process of creating ancient herbal formulas in a modern way, and the many health benefits they offer.
In the Summer of 2012, Film Producer, Lainie “Sevante” Wulkan was traveling in India and Nepal and met Santosh Shah. They struck up a friendship and while visiting Kathmandu, Santosh setup a television interview with Sevante on the film industry and her perspective of “transformational” media or films that make an impact.
They remained friends and colleagues over the course of time, including Santosh visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico during the production of Sevante’s film festival. They had considered for years a collaboration of some magnitude if/when the time and the ideal humanitarian project was right. Forward ten years later and the right time to reconnect and share respective activities post COVID had come. At the end of 2022, Santosh reached out and said he was veering his attention from full time politics and global peacekeeping efforts to a powerful cause of empowering girls and families in his own backyard through teas that his family had been manufacturing for years as the family business. During COVID, the family noticed a huge uptick in sales of their “immunity tea” herbal infusion blend. People in the villages were lining up to get hold of these teas that had a healing blend of 7 ingredients, two of which are grown right in the local villages that were having a 200 year old mindset of sex trafficking. It was his goal to show farmers how they can utilize their lands and grow these special healing herbs from the base of the Himalayan mountains to create an income and economic impact for their families while saving their Daughters from terrible circumstances.
Santosh shared this plight with Sevante and asked if her wellness company, Real Time Wisdom LLC would consider importing these herbal infusions to the US. She said yes! Santosh already had distribution of his family’s teas throughout Europe – See Everest – Ayerveda Company and bringing these teas to the US was the next step in growing the business and thus, helping the families. Sevante knew that the story of these teas, both for their magnificent healthy herbs was a compelling and heartwarming story to be told and envisioned filming this story and utilizing the documentary to instill change and hope with greater awareness to the pandemic of slavery. Her vision was to create this documentary and bring it to film festivals worldwide and then give them a touch of reality by enjoying the herbal infusions at the festivals, knowing each sip brings a heightened sense of understanding and hope to making this region of the world a safer place to be.
THIS is where you come in. This is a grassroots project of hope all the way around. Your support, passion and commitment to change allows our production to commence and begin the storytelling this October. Our faith is strong and we look forward to bringing a vibrant look at the bright and wonderous sides of this region and to share the drive and tenacity of this family to create teas that offer healthy support while allowing a community to become more independent, empowered and heal from outdated paradigms while bringing Hope from the Himalayas to all.
Herbs For Nourishing The Body
Teas and herbal infusions have been used across the entire globe for centuries. Spices and natural plants for healing have been a primary focus since the pandemic and the higher awareness of seeing “food as medicine” Hippocrates said it best “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be they food.”
Teas themselves have also been used for ceremonies, rituals, stress relief and meditation. They are part of many cultures and continue to be of great importance to our health. With the rise of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, respiratory dysfunction, coupled with an increase with many global populations living longer, boosting the body’s immune system and nourishing the nervous system is essential to longevity.
The ancient family formula with Himalaya Herbs Nepal has developed a myriad of blends for health and relaxation. We want to showcase how the body responds to these herbal blends. These seven herbs are coming from farmers run by women in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. They are the first step to making a global impact to those who enjoy these teas globally. With their involvement, they are creating a future for their families, contributing to keeping the planet green and connecting communities across the globe together as one. So often when we purchase our food products in the store, we neglect to see the efforts made to get that product into our hands. Seeing the sacrifices brings one to truly appreciate what goes into what we consume.
We’ll be collaborating with Santosh Shah of Himalayan Herbs Nepal, who will be organizing the key locations and logistics in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka. Santosh will be a major narrative in the documentary helping to weave the story of his work to help the farm owners and their families. He’ll also share the story about these healthy herbal infusions that are becoming widely known throughout Europe and soon the United States.
Development – May 2023 – October 2023
Pre-Production – August 2023 – October 2023
Production – October 2023
Post Production – November through April 2024
Final Cut – May 2024
Development Budget for Phase I – $20,000 (breakdown available)
- Travel to Nepal, India & Sri Lanka from US for Director & Producer (flights & visas)
- Hiring Local Crew
- Setting up Production Infrastructure
- Shooting Interviews and creating B Roll Footage
- Equipment costs (camera, lighting and sound)
- Transportation & Accommodations
Total Production Budget – $150,000 (line item budget available)
You Can Make Your Tax Deductible Donation 2 ways:
1) For Credit Card or eCheck, click the orange button
2) For paper checks:
Please make check donations payable to From the Heart Productions, and indicate the name of the film on the memo line. Mail your check to:
From The Heart Productions
1013 Harbor Ave. #53
Oxnard, CA 93035
Lainie “Sevante” Wulkan
Fiscal Non-Profit Agent
We will be working closely with From The Heart Productions, the leading non-profit agency for humanitarian films to be our fiscal agent, allowing a portion of the donations to be tax-deductible.
Those who want to support this journey to create Hope From The Himalayas will receive this added benefit and in some cases, a Executive Producer credit that can be listed at industry icon, IMDB.com
Lainie “Sevante” Wulkan
Lainie has been in the entertainment industry in a variety of roles since the early 90’s having worked in the late Brandon Tartikoff camp, former Chairman of NBC, Moving Target Production, Paramount Studios and New World Entertainment.
She was part of many events, tv and film productions and then branched off to start her own event production company which produced or supported productions of Hollywood Fundraisers such as Women In Film’s Lucy & Crystal Awards honoring Drew Barrymore and Jane Seymour, Martini Shot honoring Steven Spielberg and the Women in Film International Summit.
She went on to be the traveling publicist for Val Kilmer’s European Press Junket for “At First Sight” where she traveled to 9 countries and organized events and appearances at Monaco’s World Music Awards, Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival.
She later moved from LA to New Mexico and had Robert Redford as her client for special projects and Co-Founded The Albuqueque Film & Music Festival, now known as AFME.
She produced the first year’s events that featured a special evening with Robert Redford and “The Way of the Rain” live art experience with Sibylle “Billy Redford”. She has been a Producer and Executive Producer on a number of short films and documentaries, and continues to produce corporate media videos that include PSAs, web and radio commercials.
She is host the Nourish Your Soul Show which is aired in 135 countries and is an Author of numerous Bestselling Wellness books.
Reinhard created First Eye Films in 2006 in Berlin, Germany as a small production company for Documentary and commercials.
Since his relocation to the US in 2008, Reinhard has steadily expanded the company and today, First Eye Films operates as a full-service production company for Documentaries, also providing Feature, Doc and commercial clients with Line producing and Production managing services.
A recent DGA member, he has been the Line Producer for Features The Warm Season, The Unexpecteds, and In the Middle of the River, all shot in New Mexico. As Documentary filmmaker, Reinhard explored his German family roots with the personal Documentary project We are Silesians, and co-directed the award-winning Documentary on the National Institute of Flamenco, Flamenco School.
His Mini Doc series, How COVID inspires Change about individual and institutional responses to the impact of the COVID crisis, played at the 2021 Santa Fe Film Festival. He has a background working in theatre, creating video stage designs and collaborative performance work. An accomplished instructor and educator, Reinhard has taught in Germany, the US and South Africa, making his industry experience available to the next generation of young filmmakers. He holds an MFA in Filmmaking from the University of the Arts in Berlin.
With an early career in politics, Santosh Shah became the youngest political talk show host at 28 years with “Power Talks” back in 2009. The show featured Santosh interviewing global leaders, heads of states on diplomatic missions, government chiefs and delegations from around the world. Additionally, Santosh is the Founder & President of Today’s Youth Asia. In 2011 he was named in the ” World’s Top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders” under 33 by Washington DC based, Diplomatic Courier. He served on the UN’s Youth Advisory Panel (UNYAP) and continues to empower young students in politics and learning tv productions.
Currently, he has turned his attention to the family business, Himalyan Herbs Nepal to globally manufacture herbal infusions for many health benefits. He works with farmers in rural regions of Nepal, India and Sri Lanka to teach economic impact and thwart the common trafficking of girls in these regions for money. Santosh’s work is the inspiration for Hope from the Himalayas.
Howard Merlin Wulkan is the owner of Farmadelica Sound, a full service recording studio based in SW Florida. He is a veteran of the music business, having worked for such labels as Warner Brothers under Jack Holzman and at PolyGram, as the Head of Sales and Marketing for the Independent Distribution System.
He is a producer, composer, arranger and a highly qualified audio engineer. His clientele include Michael Allman, Gregg Allman’s oldest son, Dave Abbruzzese (ex-Pearl Jam), Adriana McDonald and dozens more. He is also the Composer for the award-winning documentary “Cornerstone” featuring CNN Hero of the Year, Jackson Kaguri.