We recently chatted with our videography guru, Tony DeVictor, to get his perspective on his recent travels to Nepal with the Accent Decor creative team. Tony is the guy behind the lens who then takes all of our raw footage and snips, cuts and pastes it in the way to tell the incredible stories behind our brand, the people and our products.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, HAD YOU BEEN TO NEPAL BEFORE?
No. Never! It actually was only my second time out of the country. I traveled to Ireland just before which was a very different experience. The air was so hot, there were so many people and so much going on right after stepping off of the plane… it was pretty surreal. I remember being struck by everything going on around me. We were all contained in what was essentially a box, which was their customs mixed in with travelers from all over the world. You just felt like you were following the herd of people throughout the security area. There are so many visitors coming to hike the region that everyone assumes that’s what you’re there for as well. We stuck out like a sore thumb being the only people without backpacking gear and outdoor wear.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE PLACE / PEOPLE?
The overall beauty, the place itself, the unique architecture and the way they have constructed all of these buildings together is what struck me the most in general. Initially however, riding around at night in a taxi in the dark with the amount of traffic and even during the day – I had never experienced anything quite like that before. Things were moving at an incredible pace with little to no direction and you just never know where someone is going – that took some getting used to. Once I got used to that and comfortable being driven around to our different factories I was able to focus more on the people and the overall experience. The industrious nature of the city filled with the beautiful buildings was impressive especially seeing the after effects from the [April 2015] earthquake.
THEY SAY, “THE THINGS THAT GO WRONG OFTEN MAKE THE BEST MEMORIES,” DID ANYTHING GO WRONG THAT SEEMS FUNNY NOW?
My bag was lost… which was a bummer… but I guess it’s kind of funny now! I had accidentally left batteries for my camera in my carry on, which you’re not supposed to do because they don’t like for there to be ion batteries in the cargo of a plane. The airport had to recheck my bag which led to it not being on my plane and it didn’t arrive until 24 hours later. Essentially I was wearing the same clothes for three days straight! When you’ve been traveling and you’re now in a pretty hot and humid place it’s really not ideal. Not to mention, I was missing a good bit of my video equipment.
WHAT ARE TWO INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT NEPAL THE AVERAGE PERSON DOESN’T KNOW?
That there’s like a 200% tax on cars! We learned that that’s why there aren’t very many new cars because it’s so expensive to have imported cars. And that they eat with their hands… I wouldn’t have thought that. Also, there are over 37 languages spoken in Nepal which is crazy because it’s such a small country.
IN REGARDS TO FILMING, WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL WHILE FILMING FOR ACCENT DECOR?
We wanted to highlight the women’s co-op and show the craftsmanship, the detail and the work that goes into the entire paper making process. While showing these women at work and the time and effort that goes into the gift wrap. Once we receive the finished product here we can certainly appreciate how beautiful it is but most people don’t know the backstory or what all it took to bring it to that point – we wanted to bring that to light.
WHAT ABOUT THE GIFT WRAP MAKING PROCESS IMPRESSED YOU MOST?
It’s just an unbelievable process with so many steps: peeling the bark off the trees, grinding it up, dying it, laying it out to dry and so on. By the time it gets shipped to the warehouse so many hands have touched that one book or product which is wild to think about. Sarah gave me a gift for Christmas wrapped in the paper and honestly I had a hard time opening it because I didn’t want to rip it knowing how much goes into making just one sheet!
WHAT ELEMENT CAN ONLY BE FELT IF ONE IS ACTUALLY THERE?
Video can only translate so much – even the sites and sounds aren’t quite what they are in person. The layers of smells from foods, combined with the noise from the cars and the people, the way the light hits the landscapes, monkeys swinging from trees overhead, and the chatter and laughter among the women in the factories. You can feel such a sense of pride from the community and how proud the people are to have us visiting and to show us what they’ve been doing- you can’t really put that into words or give it true justice in a video. Of course, you can show a lot of these elements in a film but actually sitting there in the moment and witnessing it all first person is completely different – I just do my best to tell the best story possible.