Tibetan artist Tenzin Rigdol stands amidst 20000 kilos of soil from Tibet a day before his site specific art installation, Dharamsala, October 2010
DHARAMSALA, September 4 – A documentary film by a New York based Tibetan filmmaker has made it to this year’s prestigious Busan International Film Festival, one of the most important Asian film festivals in the world.
‘Bringing Tibet Home’ is a documentary film about a Tibetan contemporary artist’s mission to bring Tibet closer to Tibetan exiles through an unprecedented art project titled, Our Land, Our People. The film will feature in the Wide Angle Documentary Competition Section at the 18th Busan International Film Festival from October 3 to October 12, 2013.
According to the director Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, the film is about a journey that Rigdol, a contemporary Tibetan artist who has also produced the film, undertakes in 2010 to present an installation art wherein 20,000 kilos of native Tibetan soil from Tibet is laid out on a platform set up in Dharamsala, India where thousands of exiled Tibetans got the rare opportunity to walk on their home soil. “For many this is a reunion, for some, the first time that they set foot on their homeland and for a few, this was probably the last time that they ever saw anything of their lost nation,” Choklay said.
Although Rigdol’s work examines the plight of the Tibetan people in exile, it also has wider resonance, exploring the notion of nostalgia, the idea of homeland and how art is intertwined with the political and the social. It also demonstrates the transgressive power of art as an act of defiance.
Choklay says they decided to open in Korea because it is the most important Asian Film Festival in the world and that they received some support from BIFF's AFA fellowship fund in 2013. “And of course it is the film festival that selected us.” Both Choklay and Rigdol are attending the festival next month.
‘Bringing Tibet Home’ is also participating in IFP's New York Independent Film Week this month between September 15 and 19 - an industry exclusive project forum for independent filmmakers and their projects. Bringing Tibet Home will be part of IFP's 10 Documentary showcase for 2013.
Tenzin Tsetan Choklay is a Tibetan filmmaker currently based in New York. Born to refugee parents, Tenzin grew up in Dharamsala, in northern India, and went on to study directing at the Korean Academy of Film Arts in Seoul. His films include the shorts Elif's Seoulitude (2007) and Tell Tale (2008).
a still from Vara - a blessing
Another film by the noted director of “the Cup” fame has also made it to the 18th Busan International Film Festival as the opening and closing film. Khyentse Norbu’s film ‘Vara – a blessing’ revolves around the traditional Bharatanatyam dance, telling through beautiful imagery the story of two lovers, their self-sacrifice and a woman’s will to survive adversity.
Khyentse Norbu is a renowned Tibetan Buddhist master and an author living in Bhutan. After a brief encounter with film school, he worked with Oscar winning director Bernardo Bertolucci on ‘Little Buddha’ (1994). His films include ‘The Cup’ (1999) and ‘Travellers and Magicians’ (2003). Vara: A Blessing is his third feature film.