Pema Dhondup’s “Arise” screened in McLeod Ganj

Director Pema Dhondup with the burning man stunt performer at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles

Director Pema Dhondup with the burning man stunt performer at the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles to shoot for film Arise. Arise Film website

Tibet Sun newsroom

MCLEOD GANJ, India, 24 October 2013

Director Pema Dhondup’s film Arise had its India premiere in McLeod Ganj on Wednesday night, bringing this year’s Free Spirit Film Festival to a close.

Presenting the film, Pema said that it highlights the escalating self-immolation protests by Tibetans against the repressive Chinese rule in Tibet.

As many as 122 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest up to now, since the self-immolation by monk Tapey in February of 2009.

Pema said that the film was shot entirely in Los Angeles in four days.

“The climax of the film, the burning man stunt, was shot in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles. It was done as a solidarity event to bring the message of the self-immolators to the doorstep of the Chinese government.”

The film was produced by Clear Mirror Pictures, a boutique production company based in LA, in association with Los Angeles Lhakar.

The 9th Free Spirit Film Festival was concluded on Wednesday night after screening a total of 19 films from many countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, the UK, and the US.

The festival kicked off with American filmmaker Tom Vendetti’s Dalai Lama and China, a short film featuring the Dalai Lama, addressing the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the survival of Tibetan culture.

Arise by Pema Dhondup had its India premiere at the Festival. Pema, who came all the way from Los Angeles, presented the film and answered a few questions from the audience. “After the burning man stunt was shot in front of Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, the Political Attaché called me up a number of times to have a discussion,” Pema says.

Pema won the Best Director award at the Festival for Arise. He also won the Special Jury prize.

In all thirteen awards were given. The prize for Best Picture went to Lou Ma Ho’s Koan of Spring, about a weapon master in Vietnam looking for his successor.

Illusive Peace in Kashmir, directed by Shuja Paul from the US, won the award for the Best Documentary film, and Villari, directed by Prashant Vanjani from Delhi, won in the Best Short Film category.

The Audience Award went to Tofael – the Tea Stall Boy, directed by Minhazur Rahman Nayan from Bangladesh, while Connection Failed, directed by 16-year-old Ninad Kulkarni from Pune, received a Special Mention at the festival.

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