A Documentary by Dorottya Zurbó, Arun Bhattarai
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Project Information

About the project
LOCKLINETwo inseparable friends TASHI and TSHERING break with family tradition and fight for their modern dream in the isolated Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

INSEPARABLES is located in a tiny kingdom in almost the most beautiful spot on the globe with fantastic people and incredible stories. A small group of young but extremely motivated girls coming from the most rural and isolated areas of the Himalayas - where the television was only introduced in 1999 - are trying to become footballers and build a modern career for the first time in a place where a Buddha statue and a Ronaldo poster can coexist next to each other. It is a modern tale of a forgotten part of the globe that you can rarely find in our uniformalized and globalized world any more.


TASHI and TSHERING grew up together in a remote village in Bhutan. The two 13 year old girls are opposites of the same coin. While Tashi likes daydreaming and behaving as a tomboy instead of practising Buddhist rituals in her grandfather’s monastery, Tshering studies and works at her family’s farm. When both get pre-selected into the first national women football team, an inseparable bond develops in a faraway training camp. They share the same bed whispering secrets during the night and supporting each other on the field. To stay at the academy they must perform at the final selection in a year’s time. But while Tshering becomes the best player in the team, Tashi is lagging behind. The film follows the story of their intimate friendship until the moment they compete with each other. Will they stay together or will they have separate destinies?


The story of the film is going to unfold two narrative layers. One focuses on Tashi and Tshering growing as footballers in the nation’s first women football team. They represent change in Bhutan which opened up to modernization very late. They belong to that generation that grew up getting exposed to western influences like never before. These two girls portray the changing roles of gender in a traditional society where it is rare for a girl to make her own decisions.

The other narrative layer concentrates on the relationship between Tashi and Tshering. We are going to follow the first year of the girls at the academy going deeper into their minds and hearts. We will capture how they change under the pressure of the training and how their friendship evolves with time.


The dramatic stake of the film is now, in January and February 2016 when the Bhutan Football Federation will hold a competition. New players will join the team and the players who are not good enough will be replaced. As the final selection gets closer the pressure will grow. Tashi and Tshering have a lot in stake: they could lose their dream, each other and their freedom of expressing their identity.
If one returns to the village and the other stays, we follow their parallel paths. One friend who can grow as a footballer fulfilling the modern career of a new generation in the first Bhutanese women football team. And the other one who lost her dream and has to return to the village to continue the family tradition. Their intimate story will be a modern fairy tale where spiritual Buddhism will meet with the dreams and frustrations of teenagers who strive to feel significant in a path less taken.


why we would like to make this film?

We chose to tell the story of the first women’s football team in Bhutan because it allows us to reflect upon the cross roads between traditional and Western values - the beginning of modernisation in the country through the dreams of these aspiring footballer girls. Women football has a growing attention in the Western world as an effective tool for empowerment in gender equality. We can feel this influence in Bhutan where creating the first women’s football team without a proper football culture in a traditional society can be a huge step towards modernization. In most of the countries the beginnings of a football story has not been documented or it has been forgotten. The story of these girls leaving their village and family for the first time, learning the simple basic trainings of push pass to team work and forming a national team is actually happening now. This is an opportunity for us to document and tell this extraordinary story of the beginning of football in this lesser known country.

We believe this subject can be universal because many people can connect with the friendship of Tashi and Tshering. They are not just unique girls who want to break with all the family patterns they supposed to follow but pars pro toto-s for their entire generation.  INSEPARABLES is a modern tale of a forgotten part of the globe that you can rarely find in our world any more.



Quote that inspired the maker

"Mum, Dad, I beg you, let me do what I want! I'm sure I can take care of you, let me be a football player."
This project was successfully funded on 05-03-2016

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