By Tsering Dhundup
DHARAMSHALA, May 29: Tsering Wangmo, a Tibetan filmmaker and anthropology student at Washington University in St. Louis, has won top honors at the eighth juried competition of the Cinema at Citygarden program on May 24. Organized by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and funded by the Gateway Foundation, the program recognizes local filmmakers who skillfully incorporate nature into their short films. Wangmo’s film Boundaries, won the first prize and a prize money of $1,500.
Wangmo’s films have delved into profound themes such as exile, refugees, statelessness, belongingness, memory, identity, and the generational trauma resulting from war and displacement. Born in India to Tibetan refugee parents, her personal experiences and background have greatly influenced her filmmaking through themes like family separation, displacement, and political subjugation.
She is an alumna of NYU’s documentary film production program. She also studied journalism at Madras Christian College in southern India and mass communication at Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) in northern India before pursuing a course in documentary filmmaking in New York. Her previous projects, including Tibet’s Nomad in Exile (2018), Looking Back in Exile (2018), Horse (2019), Conversation with My Mother (2019), In the Mountains (2020), and her award-winning film Boundaries (2023), explore the complex questions faced by the Tibetan diaspora in exile.
Jessica Pierce, one of this year’s jurors, expressed admiration for the exceptional quality of Wangmo’s work, stating, “Many of this year’s submissions spoke to the heart of Cinema at Citygarden, but the winners stood out with their clever meditations on nature, humanity, and whatever it is that lies in between.”
The Cinema at Citygarden program will present the winning films on Citygarden’s impressive video wall, starting on Friday, May 26. Audiences will have the opportunity to view the films in a looped format daily, between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., until June 30.
Cinema St. Louis will showcase the three competition winners as part of the highly anticipated Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, scheduled to take place from July 21-30. This prestigious event will provide further recognition and exposure for the filmmakers, with their works being considered for inclusion in the renowned Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, held from November 9-19.
She has earlier won three awards at My Hero International Film Festival (MHIFF) including the prestigious 2019 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media (WTM) Award in the student division of MHIFF.