By Phurbu Thinley
Ngawang Choephel was arrested in August 1995 by Chinese authorities for videotaping Tibetan children and elders singing and dancing their traditional songs
Dharamsala, October 13: A 30-minute documentary film on a harrowing tale of political persecution in Tibet has won award for the best Human Rights Film at a film festival in Taos, New Mexico, US.
The film Missing in Tibet
, grabbed the ‘Best Human Rights Film’ award at the Eighth Annual Taos Mountain Film Festival
that ended Sunday.
This film is about Nwawang Choephel, a Tibetan-born exile, who, on December 26, 1996, was sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Chinese authorities.
While living in the States, Ngawang was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study and record the ethnomusicology of his Tibetan homeland at prestigious Middlebury College in Vermont. His research took him to Tibet to document and preserve traditional music and dance.
In the midst of this research the Chinese authorities arrested him. His only ‘crime’ being he videotaped Tibetan children and elders singing and dancing their traditional songs. He was released in February 2002, after six years in prison.
Interweaving his life story with actual footage shot before his incarceration the film, narrated by Goldie Hawn and Peter Coyote recounts a harrowing tale of political persecution.
Created in 1996 by Robin Garthwait, Missing in Tibet won the Jury Award, Telluride Mountain Film Festival, 1997 and Best Short Subject Cultural Awareness, International Humanitarian Awards, 1998.
The film has been aired on PBS stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, San Jose, Buffalo, Anchorage, Fairbanks and Columbia, SC, and also broadcasted nationally in Australia and Hungary.
Taos Mountain Film Festival, as the name suggests, is a film festival for mountaineers, mountain lovers and mountain characters. The Spine at TMFF is Tibet. About a quarter of the festival's 40 films are related to the struggle of Tibet's people and/or their spiritual leader.COMPASSION IN EXILE, LEAVING FEAR BEHIND, DALAI LAMA: A PORTRAIT IN THE FIRST, LEAVING FEAR BEHIND, PATH TO MOUNT KAILASH, WHY ARE WE SILENT?, THE FATE OF THE LHAPAS
and TIBET, CRY OF THE SNOW LION
are horde of other Tibet films featured at this year’s Taos Mountain Film Festival held from October 9 to 12.