Drawing the Tiger

A film by Amy Benson, Scott Squire and Ramyata Limbu

US/Nepal | 2015 | 96 minutes | Color | DVD | Subtitled | Order No. 161195


Shot over seven years, Drawing the Tiger takes a sweeping view of one Nepalese family’s daily struggle to survive off of subsistence farming. Eat, pay their debts, stay alive—that’s their day-to-day reality. But when their bright daughter receives a scholarship to study in Kathmandu, the family’s prospects suddenly improve by leaps and bounds overnight. They rest their hopes and dreams on her narrow shoulders, but will the weight of their expectations crush her? Can she really break the cycle of poverty and redefine their collective destiny? She seems eager to try, promising to return and free her family from their hand-to-mouth existence. But when she doesn’t come home, the family is forced to face their fate. Is their future set in stone or sand; is it solid or ever-shifting? Drawing The Tiger is a powerful portrait of pressure and the price one family pays for their golden opportunity that reminds us of what we can and cannot change.


"A quietly powerful film that will stick with viewers long after it ends."

Andrew Parker Toronto Film Scene

"The filmmakers’ unwavering commitment to truthful storytelling achieves a rare, nonjudgmental respect for the lives of the people they observe."

Chanel Kong CAAMFest


  • CAAM Fest Documentary Award
  • Film South Asia UNICEF Award
  • Northwest Film Forum Best Feature Award
  • Sebastopol Special Jury Mention
  • Camden Intl Film Festival
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival
  • Woodstock Film Festival


Amy Benson

Amy left her career as a middle school teacher of girls to become a documentary filmmaker. She co-owns (with her husband, Scott Squire), Nonfiction Media, a production company based in Seattle. She has shot and edited over 30 short films telling the stories of nonprofits in North America, Africa and Asia.
Her first independent documentary short, Called to Shine, about Clarksdale, Mississippi’s only female preacher premiered at the Langston Hughes film festival. Another short, Three: Impressions From The Struggle For Girls’ Education, was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival.
Her first feature documentary, Drawing the Tiger, is a granted project of both the Sundance Institute and Fork Films. It premiered at Hot Docs in April 2015 and has since been in over 30 film festivals worldwide. It has been awarded the Best Feature Jury prize by the Northwest Film Forum, the Documentary Feature Award from CAAM Fest (Center for Asian American Media) and the UNICEF award at Film South Asia in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Amy has a Tedx talk about her experience making Drawing the Tiger. The heavy burden of hope -- girls education in the developing world: Amy Benson at TEDxMonterey.

Amy is a founding member of the Seattle Documentary Association - a community for Seattle filmmakers to thrive. (6/18)

Ramyata Limbu

Ramyata co-produced and shot the documentary Dreams of Chomolungma for PBS’s Frontline World, and co-produced and shot the award winning feature documentary, Daughters Of Everest. For six years she was a producer for Young Asia Television, producing programs focusing on social issues in Nepal. Ramyata is the also the director of the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF). Her most recent documentary work is co-producing Sari Soldiers, another Sundance Institute grantee— a film about female soldiers on both sides of the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. She is currently working as a correspondent for Al Jazeera. She has been busy covering the stories of people and places hardest hit by the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Scott Squire

Scott is a lifelong photographer with a masters in journalism (Berkeley). His work on a homeless children living in Bucharest earned him the Dorothea Lange Fellowship and the Susan Meiselas Fellowship from UC Berkeley. Scott’s photo essay on post-9/11 Cairo street café culture was featured on PBS’s Frontline World website. His first book, Edges of Bounty (2009, Heyday Press), is a fine art documentary photo essay on small scale, independent food production in the Central Valley of California. His latest book of photography, See Them Run: Great Plains Coyote Coursing (University Press of Mississippi) was released in November 2015. Drawing the Tiger is his first feature. (6/18)


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