The film director and writer was born in 1969 in Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai province. Son of Tibetan nomads, he is the only one of three siblings to have finished school. He studied Tibetan Language and Literature at the Northwest University and has worked as a primary school teacher and a civil servant. He returned to school as an older student at China's most prestigious film school, Beijing Film Academy, with a scholarship from the Trace Foundation and became the Academy's first ever Tibetan student. As a writer, Pema Tseden has published novels and essays widely, in both Tibetan and Chinese. As a filmmaker, he has made two features to date. His films have been recognized internationally but most notably for garnering top honors in China including a Golden Rooster Best Directorial Debut Award (for The Silent Holy Stones) and a Shanghai International Film Festival Jury Grand Prix (for The Search).
Sonthar Gyal was born in Tongde County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai. His father was a primary school teacher who was the first person to graduate from college in the region. Sonthar Gyal studied at the Tsolho Nationalities Teacher Training College in Hainan (Tsolho) Prefecture and taught in the nomadic community for four years. Afterwards he received a scholarship to study fine arts at the Qinghai Normal University in Xining.
Although he grew up on the grassland with very few opportunities to watch films he became so fascinated by films that he began to collect scraps of films after each open-air showing. Later, encouraged by his friend Pema Tseden Sonthar Gyal followed him to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, where he studied cinematography for 2 years. Upon graduation, he worked as a cinematographer and artistic director for a series of films and documentaries. He made his directorial debut in 2011 with The Sun Beaten Path.
Tenzing Sonam is a Tibetan film director, writer and essayist. He works through his production company, White Crane Films, which he runs with his partner, Ritu Sarin.
Tenzing was born in Darjeeling to Tibetan refugee parents. He graduated from St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and then studied broadcast journalism at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
A recurring subject in their work is Tibet, with which they have been intimately involved in a number of different ways: personally, politically and artistically. Through their films and artwork, they have attempted to document, question and reflect on the questions of exile, identity, culture and nationalism that confront the Tibetan people.
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