Films at 7th Tibet Film Festival 2016

Premiere at TFF

Tsangpo (River) Sonthar Gyal I 2015 I Tibet I 94' I Drama I Tibetan with English and Chinese Subtitles   After her father has fallen drunk with the motorcycle, little Yangchan realises that something is wrong with him. In her village in the Tibetan steppe it is hard to understand why he doesn't finally visit her sick grandfather. The old man lives in a cave and is considered a saint. Everyone has already made a pilgrimage to him. But Yangchan's father stubbornly refuses. The mother is expecting the next child and wants peace, but the father has reasons for his irreconcilable attitude. A touching story - told only from the girl's point of view - about a deep spiritual wound of the father, which after many years is severely inflamed and brings an entire family to the edge of the abyss. With his second film Sonthar Gyal has carried critics to storms of enthusiasm and has finally stepped out of the shadow of his friend and mentor Pema Tseden.

Tsangpo (River)
Sonthar Gyal I 2015 I Tibet I 94' I Drama I Tibetan with English and Chinese Subtitles

After her father has fallen drunk with the motorcycle, little Yangchan realises that something is wrong with him. In her village in the Tibetan steppe it is hard to understand why he doesn't finally visit her sick grandfather. The old man lives in a cave and is considered a saint. Everyone has already made a pilgrimage to him. But Yangchan's father stubbornly refuses. The mother is expecting the next child and wants peace, but the father has reasons for his irreconcilable attitude.
A touching story - told only from the girl's point of view - about a deep spiritual wound of the father, which after many years is severely inflamed and brings an entire family to the edge of the abyss. With his second film Sonthar Gyal has carried critics to storms of enthusiasm and has finally stepped out of the shadow of his friend and mentor Pema Tseden.

A Mother’s Son Sonam Anjatsang | 2016 | England/India | 70’ | Doc. | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles   „A Mother’s Son“ is a sensitively directed film on the controversial tactic of self-immolation. It analyses how Dorjee Tsering, a 16 year-old, set himself on fire to try to get the world to focus on the terrible situation in Tibet. It includes interviews with family members, and footage of Dorjee.

A Mother’s Son
Sonam Anjatsang | 2016 | England/India | 70’ | Doc. | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles

„A Mother’s Son“ is a sensitively directed film on the controversial tactic of self-immolation. It analyses how Dorjee Tsering, a 16 year-old, set himself on fire to try to get the world to focus on the terrible situation in Tibet. It includes interviews with family members, and footage of Dorjee.

Pawo Marvin Litwak, Sonam Tseten | 2016 | Germany, India | Drama | 120' | Tibetan with English Subtitles   After the death of his father, the young Tibetan Dorjee understands what it means to grow up in his own country without language, culture and freedom. After being imprisoned for taking part in a revolt, he manages to escape on foot over the Himalayas into exile in India. Between the narrow streets of the Tibetan enclave in Delhi, he has to choose between a new life trapped in exile or the ongoing struggle for freedom in Tibet. This elaborately staged feature film is based on the true story of Jamphel Yeshi, who burned himself in 2012 in protest against China's occupation of Tibet. This German-Indian co-production has won numerous awards at international film festivals. Locations are Ladakh, Dharamsala and Delhi.

Pawo
Marvin Litwak, Sonam Tseten | 2016 | Germany, India | Drama | 120' | Tibetan with English Subtitles

After the death of his father, the young Tibetan Dorjee understands what it means to grow up in his own country without language, culture and freedom. After being imprisoned for taking part in a revolt, he manages to escape on foot over the Himalayas into exile in India. Between the narrow streets of the Tibetan enclave in Delhi, he has to choose between a new life trapped in exile or the ongoing struggle for freedom in Tibet.
This elaborately staged feature film is based on the true story of Jamphel Yeshi, who burned himself in 2012 in protest against China's occupation of Tibet. This German-Indian co-production has won numerous awards at international film festivals. Locations are Ladakh, Dharamsala and Delhi.

A Gesar Bards Tale Donagh Coleman und Lharigtso | 2013 | Finland/Tibet | 82’ | Doc. | Tibetan with English Subtitles   As a boy, Dawa was an illiterate Tibetan nomad whose life revolved around herding yaks. At 13, his life changed: through a series of visions, Dawa acquired the gift of telling the epic story of Tibet’s King Gesar. Now, at 35, Dawa receives a salary from the Chinese government as a guardian of national cultural heritage and is regarded as a holy man by his community. When an earthquake reduced his hometown to rubble, Chinese redevelopment of the region took a giant leap forward. In the midst of such seismic shifts, Dawa seeks healing from King Gesar and other divine protectors of the land.

A Gesar Bards Tale
Donagh Coleman und Lharigtso | 2013 | Finland/Tibet | 82’ | Doc. | Tibetan with English Subtitles

As a boy, Dawa was an illiterate Tibetan nomad whose life revolved around herding yaks. At 13, his life changed: through a series of visions, Dawa acquired the gift of telling the epic story of Tibet’s King Gesar. Now, at 35, Dawa receives a salary from the Chinese government as a guardian of national cultural heritage and is regarded as a holy man by his community. When an earthquake reduced his hometown to rubble, Chinese redevelopment of the region took a giant leap forward. In the midst of such seismic shifts, Dawa seeks healing from King Gesar and other divine protectors of the land.

Bringing Tibet Home Tenzin Tsetan Choklay | 2013 | USA/South Korea/India | 82’ | Doc. | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles   When a Tibetan refugee dies from a terminal illness, his last wish to set foot on his native soil remains unfulfilled… until his son, Tenzing Rigdol, a New York-based artist, embarks on an unthinkable journey to reunite Tibetans in exile with their land literally through an art project.

Bringing Tibet Home
Tenzin Tsetan Choklay | 2013 | USA/South Korea/India | 82’ | Doc. | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles

When a Tibetan refugee dies from a terminal illness, his last wish to set foot on his native soil remains unfulfilled… until his son, Tenzing Rigdol, a New York-based artist, embarks on an unthinkable journey to reunite Tibetans in exile with their land literally through an art project.

Old Dog Pema Tseden | 2011 | Tibet/China | 88’ | Drama | Tibetan with English Subtitles   A Tibetan sheep herder sells his father’s prized Tibetan mastiff to a dealer without his father’s approval. When his father finds out, he must travel into a frontier town to retrieve the dog that he raised for 12 years and is deeply attached to. The relation between father and son is turned upside down, and the mastiff has to be guarded at all times from dog-nappers and dealers who constantly harass the family with ever increasing offers. “Old Dog” is a poetic story about Tibet’s changing society, where old values are in direct conflict with new.

Old Dog
Pema Tseden | 2011 | Tibet/China | 88’ | Drama | Tibetan with English Subtitles

A Tibetan sheep herder sells his father’s prized Tibetan mastiff to a dealer without his father’s approval. When his father finds out, he must travel into a frontier town to retrieve the dog that he raised for 12 years and is deeply attached to. The relation between father and son is turned upside down, and the mastiff has to be guarded at all times from dog-nappers and dealers who constantly harass the family with ever increasing offers. “Old Dog” is a poetic story about Tibet’s changing society, where old values are in direct conflict with new.

Reprise Screening

The Silent Holy Stones Pema Tseden | 2005 | Tibet | 98’ | Drama | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles   The Silent Holy Stones tells of a young monk who, coming home from his monastery for the holidays, becomes enraptured with TV serials of Buddhist stories, and tries to bring them back to his fellow monks.

The Silent Holy Stones
Pema Tseden | 2005 | Tibet | 98’ | Drama | Tibetan and English with English Subtitles

The Silent Holy Stones tells of a young monk who, coming home from his monastery for the holidays, becomes enraptured with TV serials of Buddhist stories, and tries to bring them back to his fellow monks.

Valley of the Heroes Khashem Gyal | 2013 | Tibet | 53’ | Doc. | Tibetan and Chinese with English Subtitles   Valley of the Heroes offers a rare glimpse at a pivotal moment of cultural and linguistic transition among Tibetans and Muslims in Hualong County, a remote community in Amdo, Tibet, part of what is now eastern Qinghai Province, China. Over the past several decades, Tibetans living in Hualong have experienced rapid cultural shifts accelerated by language loss – today more than 30% are unable to speak their own native language. The film spends time with an assortment of village residents and elders who reflect on the changes taking place in their community, and also documents a unique Tibetan language program that is attempting to address the situation.

Valley of the Heroes
Khashem Gyal | 2013 | Tibet | 53’ | Doc. | Tibetan and Chinese with English Subtitles

Valley of the Heroes offers a rare glimpse at a pivotal moment of cultural and linguistic transition among Tibetans and Muslims in Hualong County, a remote community in Amdo, Tibet, part of what is now eastern Qinghai Province, China. Over the past several decades, Tibetans living in Hualong have experienced rapid cultural shifts accelerated by language loss – today more than 30% are unable to speak their own native language. The film spends time with an assortment of village residents and elders who reflect on the changes taking place in their community, and also documents a unique Tibetan language program that is attempting to address the situation.