Drokpa (2016)

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The grasslands of the Tibetan plateau are home to the source of Asia’s major rivers. Nearly half of humanity depends on this water for survival.

Tibetan nomads, known as Drokpa have roamed these lands for thousands of years. In recent times however, these once luscious grasslands are rapidly decaying into deserts. With unprecedented access to a nomadic family living at the centre stage of this drastic and historical change, Drokpa reveals the unparalleled environmental and sociopolitical forces that are pushing these Tibetan nomads to the edge of their existence.

The film portrays the richly observed daily lives and family relationships of of Tamku, a single, teenage mother, Dhongya, a senior nomad and Yithan, a mother of two boys, whose lives are all marked by the dramatic struggles of everyday existence involved in dealing with exposure to the fury of the elements and menaced by the drying up of the soil.

Drokpa is at once deeply personal and illustrative of the universal issues of gender, freedom, adaptation to a changing climate and the resilience of the human spirit.

“A patient and thoughtful documentary, Drokpa gives nuance to a traditional people. Beyond what is being lost — the brilliance of day- to-day drokpa ingenuity and environmental sustainability — there are things to be gained… With balance and equanimity, the narrative fully reveals the complexities of colonialism, patriarchy and climate change without judgment.”

DOXA Documentary Film Festival Jury