Filmed over the course of seven years, Drawing the Tiger focuses on the life of a family of Nepalese subsistence farmers and their daily struggles. The parents have watched their children go off in different directions. Their eldest son finds himself in a relatively loveless marriage of convenience and growing more accustomed to big city living, making him essentially useless on the farm. Their hopes of a brighter future are pinned almost solely on their eldest daughter, Shanta, who has been studying voraciously (while attending an underfunded, poorly run school) to become a doctor.

Drawing the Tiger might follow its subjects around for years, but that breadth of time becomes immediately apparent around the halfway point where something tragically unexpected happens. It’s never a slow moving film, but each mounting revelation and hardship hits with maximum force. It’s never manipulative, but rather patient and restrained. Filmmakers Amy Benson and Scott Squire know they have something special and they never rush or skew their footage – which looks gorgeous and somehow makes the film feel even more tragic.

It’s a quietly powerful film that will stick with viewers long after it ends, but it’s best to go into the film knowing as little as possible for it to have the biggest effect. Here’s hoping this one makes it out as wide as humanly possible. It’s a major work by people who clearly put everything they had and more into making it.