2005, We funded the first feature documentary by a Tibetan film maker.
2006, First trip to India as I was leaving I saw posters for a Tibetan film by a Tibetan film maker in the Tibetan area of Majnu Ka Tilla and when I got back to the states, I found him through a Website on the poster. We exchanged a couple emails.
He had finished a film and needed financing for post production. We gave him $100. We did not ask what the film was about.. because we don’t. He was able to finish his film. We got a copy and we got this amazing story of The Dalai Lama being invited to a very remote village of Muslims in the very dangerous Kashmir region of Northern India.
Without this young Tibetan film maker, this story would never have been told. Without our money, he would have eventually finished this film... maybe...
This story in this film is a lesson on how you create change in the world through investment, education and respect of culture... (More on this after the movie run) Emphasize, without this film, this story would not be known to the world.
Film's Back Story: The elders in this village believe that at one time they were Tibetan and part of Tibet but over centuries the region became Muslim and also a part of India... that is in dispute and there has been a long ongoing and often violent conflict seeking Independence from India and backed by Muslim Pakistan. But because of what they believe is their ancestory, the elders sent an Invitation for the Dalai to visit... and that alone would have been more than they ever hoped for. The rest is the film...
After the film.. Originally 15 children were brought out to be fully educated in secular schools and now the program is 50 kids and yes, they do have a woman from the village who is in charge of maintaining their muslim heritage and culture as you saw in the film.
This story is a lesson on how you create change in the world through investment, education and respect of culture...
If you have read “Three Cups of Tea” and know the financial problems that project ended up in through mis use of cash... this is the result when its an honest effort.
After the Tibetan film maker (he does not like a lot of credit and has told me so) After he delivered the film to us, we submitted it to an online and ongoing annual film festival. Over the year, we did a lot of online promotion and this film had over 175,000 looks in the year and earned the Audience favorite award and a $3000 prize... that the festival tried to give to The Tibetan Photo Project, but, we insisted they give it directly to the film maker who was in India. This took a bit of work... but eventually he did get the full prize and with a portion of the money, he bought the school you see in the film its first student computer.
The film maker has spent a bit of time in NY studying film. When we were filming Nobel Peace Prize winner South African Rev. Desmond Tutu and Richard Gere for Save Tibet ...Why” during the Beijing Olympics protests in 2008 in San Francisco, he did walk up and introduce himself. The last I heard from him was he was down in Mumbai, learning by getting work on Bollywod film crews.