tibetan film festival

tibetan film festival - samsara
Samsara, Pan Nalin, 2001

The Australia Tibet Council presents Spirit of Tibet - Spirit of Hope, the third Tibetan Film Festival in Melbourne, on World Tibet Day, an annual worldwide event celebrating the unique beauty of Tibetan culture and thought and to support the rights of the Tibetan people to religious, cultural and political freedoms.

Spirit of Tibet - Spirit of Hope will showcase a diverse collection of local and international documentaries and feature films exploring the struggle of Tibetans to retain their culture and identity in the face of oppression, human rights abuses and exile such as Windhorse and Hell on Earth, as well as painting a breathtaking picture of one of the world's most ancient and rich cultures in films such as Samsara and Yogis of Tibet.

The festival also features guest speakers and performer Tenzing Tsewang whose music and comedy have become a regular feature of Tibetan Film Festivals in Melbourne.

The Australia Tibet Council is a non-profit organisation which campaigns for the right of the Tibetan people to decide their own future and for an end to violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Please join us to make a difference!

festival program

Friday 4 July, 7.15pm: Gala Opening

Home to Tibet: the Story of Sonam Lama's Return to his Homeland

Alan Dater & Lisa Merton, 1996, 55 mins

This program documents the return of the Tibetan stone mason, Sonam Lama, to his homeland for the first time since his escape twelve years ago. Despite the fact that Sonam has become an American citizen, returning to Tibet is dangerous for him. A poignant film illustrating the pain of separation from family and culture.


M, Paul Wagner, 1998, 97 mins

The story of a Tibetan pop singer who wins favour with the Chinese government of occupied Tibet, but faces a crisis of conscience when her cousin, a Buddhist nun, is imprisoned and tortured for her religious beliefs. The singer and her brother secretly videotape the testimony of their cousin and sneak it out of Tibet. Several crucial scenes were shot clandestinely in Tibet. The rest of the film was shot in Kathmandu and at remote locations in the Himalayas.

Saturday 5 July 7.15pm: Session One

The Tibetan Offspring: Survivors of an Ancient Culture

Emmanuelle Glemet, 2002, 30 mins

An emotional insight into the Tibetan Children Villages in Northern India where the future Tibetan generation is educated. Children in Tibet do not have access to education and suffer from starvation. For the educational benefits, and to keep alive the flame of their culture, many Tibetan parents are willing to bear the cost of painful separation. 


MA, Pan Nalin, 2001, 138 mins

A story of spiritual quest, following the path of a brilliant young monk who returns from three years of solitary meditation. Back in his ancient monastery, he experiences a disturbing sexual awakening and is led to question the spiritual values of his monastic existence. He becomes determined to experience worldly existence which brings joys and sexual fulfillment, but also injustice, danger and conflict. Filmed in Ladakh, deep in the Himalayas, and full of spectacular widescreen landscapes, this film won Most Popular Feature at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2002.

Sunday 6 July 5.30pm: Session Two

The Spirit of Tibet: Journey to Enlightenment

Mathieu Ricard, 1998, 46 mins

A personal biography of the life and times of a senior Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Introduced by The Dalai Lama, this program explores Tibetan Buddhism showing the spiritual practices and lifestyle of one of the greatest Tibetan masters of the 20th century. This film illustrates the baroque religious worldview that survives in Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan.

Yogis of Tibet

Phil and Jo Borack, 2002, 77 mins

Since the invasion of Tibet, one of the most profound losses resulting from the systematic destruction of Tibetan culture by the Chinese is the tradition of the great master yogis. In order to record these fascinating mystical practitioners for posterity, the film-makers were given permission to film previously secret demonstrations and to conduct interviews on subject matter rarely discussed. This profound historical, spiritual and educational film will someday be the last remnant of these amazing practitioners.

Sunday 6 July 8.30pm: Session Three

Young Hearts

Peter Thomas, 2002, 45 mins

Young Hearts is a documentary that follows the Dalai Lama on his visit to Australia in May 2002. A number of young people asked him questions and the Dalai Lama responded with candor and humour to issues such as refugees, reconciliation, forgiveness, suicide, spirituality, world peace and competitiveness. Wil Anderson and Sigrid Thornton share their stories and the soundtrack provided by Mantra Mix is a spectacular collage of Tibetan sounds with a contemporary beat.

Cave in the Snow

Liz Thompson, 2002, 52 mins

British-born Tenzin Palmo was ordained as one of the first western Tibetan Buddhist nuns. In 1976 she retreated to a remote Himalayan cave to deepen her meditation practice. Here she faced unimaginable cold, wild animals, near-starvation and avalanches; grew her own food and slept in a traditional wooden meditation box; she never lay down. Now she has embarked on an ambitious project to build a nunnery for young women from Tibet and the Himalayas and an international retreat centre in north India with the aim to help women achieve spiritual excellence. Tenzin Palmo is a leading figure in the last frontier of women's liberation; that of equal spiritual rights.

Dates   Friday 4 July - Sunday 6 July 2003
Admission   Festival Pass
Full $60 Concession $50
Gala opening (Friday 4 July)
Full / concession $25
Saturday 5 July and Sunday 6 July sessions
Full $15 Concession $12
    bookings (03) 8663 2583
australia tibet council
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