By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 15: The 9th edition of the Tibet Film Festival was opened simultaneously in Zurich, Switzerland and here in Dharamshala, the virtual capital of the Tibetan diaspora, over the weekend.
The Tibet film festival, aimed at encouraging Tibetan filmmakers, actors and other professions related to cinema, was held this year at the TCV day school here on 13th and 14th October, opening its door for film enthusiasts that included local Tibetans and Indians, as well as tourists and expats.
The festival began with screening of an interview with former political prisoner and filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen who was imprisoned for his film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’
that documented the sentiments and outcry of common Tibetans against Chinese rule prior to the Beijing Olympics. The festival that began in 2010 is dedicated to the self-taught Tibetan filmmaker, now in the US after his escape last year.
The highlight of the year’s roster of films is Wangdrak’s Rainboots
(2018) by Tibetan film maker Lhapa Gyal who assisted noted Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden on his widely acclaimed film 'Tharlo'.
The festival also boasted an impressive line of films this year including Born in Battle
(2015) by Yangzom Brauen, Barley Fields on the other side of the Mountain
(2017) by Tian Tsering, Summer Pasture
(2010) by Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Tsering Perlo and Tibetan crime drama Lhasa Blues
(2018) by Shenpenn Khymsar, among others.
Shorts such as Lhasa Khache (2018) by Kalsang Jigme and Hu Wei’s Oscar nominated Butter Lamp (2013) were also showcased on Sunday.
There was a tie for the winner of this year’s short film competition between Tseten Dorje’s Jangthang and Tales from the Pasture by Tsering Wangmo.
A first-time festival goer and college student, Tenzin Sonam told Phayul, “It’s a revelation. Films for me have always been an alien association, in that Hollywood and Bollywood films were more or less been the staple throughout my life. Coming here hesitantly has introduced me to a world of Tibetan made films and on subjects that are uniquely Tibetan. I am definitely going to come next year.”