Bhutan International Film Fest lineup
Atotal of 14 expertly curated selection of Bhustanese and international narratives, documentaries and short films have been scheduled to be featured during the Bhutan International Film Festival ( BIFF) that kicked off in Thimphu yesterday.
The film festival opened with the Bhutanese film ‘ Kushuthara’ on the opening day at 8 pm at Le Meridien. The film explores the Buddhist concept of karma and the possibility of rebirth of two persons in another lifetime to accomplish what was left unrealized in the previous life.
Charlie ( a photographer from Hollywood) and Chomiko (a weaver from Lhuentse), who are lovers in their past lives; get their previous romance rekindled in their present lives. The entangled relationship between the two is then untangled through realization of the causes and conditions that created it.
The second day of BIFF begins today at the Centenary Park from 4- 6pm with ‘ Words With Gods’, an exploration of the relationship between different cultures and religion. The film is based on a concept by Guillermo Arriaga and arranged in the present order by Mario Vargas Llosa.
‘ Words With Gods’ will be then followed by the film ‘ Copenhagen’ from 6- 8pm at the Le Meridien. The film is about an immature William, who finds himself at a crossroads in Copenhagen after weeks of traveling through Europe.
In this 98- minute- long film directed by Mark Raso, a recipient of numerous awards, William finds that Copenhagen is also the birthplace of his father. When the youthful Effy befriends the older William they set off on an adventure to find William’s grandfather, where attraction builds between the two and William connects with someone for the first time in his life. However, William must come to grips with destabilizing elements of his family’s sordid past.
The second day of BIFF will be closed by ‘ Arrows of the Thunder Dragon’ from 8- 10pm at Le Meridien. Set in the 1970s, this 89- minute- long film of 2014 directed by Gregg Sneddon, revolves around a young brother and sister from a remote village, who are forced to make difficult decisions when their mother gets sick. The movie is shot entirely on location in Bhutan, and produced by Tshering Dorji and Greg Sneddon.
‘ Prophecy’, ‘ 1 Giant Leap: What About Me?’ and ‘ American Beatboxer’ are, meanwhile, the three films that will be premiered on the third day of BIFF. The first movie ‘ Prophecy’ would be screened at the Centenary Park from 4- 6pm.
This movie marks the debut of His Eminence Zuri Rinpoche into the film world as a director and producer. Prophecy is a sincere and an imposing attempt to challenge conventional beliefs. It’s a story of hope. It is a revelation of conviction rooted in the Buddhist principles of prophecies. The movie is a congenial marriage between the undeniable belief system of religion and a moralbiting truth, which could manifest in ways beyond the ordinary.
The second movie for the day would be screened at Le Meridien from 6- 8pm, while the other would be shown from 8- 10pm.
Produced, directed and written by Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto, 87- minute- long ‘ 1 Giant Leap: What About Me?’ takes an inspiring and entertaining look at our collective insanity - how we are ego- driven, needy in relationships, insatiable in desire, addicted to status, wounded by childhood and unable to stop thinking, but how we still manage to be inspired and creative.
American Beatboxer is, meanwhile, about the first ever American Beatbox Championship that took place in Brooklyn, New York, on July 31, 2010. This 85- minutelong film directed by Manauvaskar Kublall documents one of the most neglected genres of Hip Hop Culture and places it in its rightful place - in Hip Hop History as well as an American art form.
The 39- minute- long fiction film ‘ Heart in the Mandala’ at Centenary Park from 4- 6pm begins the fourth day of the film festival.
The film is the story of three characters whose lives are shadowed by one dark past, and explores the interconnectedness of love, divinity, fate, choice and the universe. This 2013 film is written, directed and edited by Dechen Roder.
The fourth day of the film festival will continue with ‘ Patrick’s Day’ at Le Meridien from 6- 8pm on February 17. This 102- minute- long film revolves around Patrick - a warm, open, 26- yearold virgin schizophrenic. Things take a twist when Partick falls in love with a suicidal flight attendant, Karen. Patrick’s obsessive mother Maura, however, will leave no stones unturned to pull Karen and Patrick apart. The film is a provocative and heart- breaking love story about the right to intimacy for everyone.
Prior to that, ‘ The Last Yak Herder of Dhe’ will be screened at the Centenary Park from 5: 30- 6pm. Based on the research by Fidel Devkota, the documentary is a journey to the mysterious village of Dhe in Mustang, Nepal. Similarly, there is the screening of ‘ L. Chophel Shorts’ from 4- 6pm at the Centenary Park.
A traditional Bhutanese movie, Hingsel, is another film to be featured on February 17 at Le Meridien from 6- 8pm. This 96- minutelong movie is a romantic tragedy set in a most remote village in Bhutan. It’s the story of a poor boy who falls in love with a girl and goes on to prove himself to be worthy of the girl.
Similarly, ‘ Buddha’s Birthday in Budapest’ will be featured at the same time at Le Meridien Thimphu. This nine- minute- long film directed by Arun Bhattarai is a reflection of a Tibetan man, Karma, who follows his Tibetan roots religiously while living in a diaspora. The man has settled down with his family in Budapest ( Hungary).
‘ A Total Disruption’ and ‘ We Live In Public’ are the two documentaries that would be shown on February 18 at the Le Meridien from 6- 7pm and 9- 10pm respectively.
Apart from the screening of these selected films, renowned local and visiting filmmakers, meanwhile, will also host participatory workshops and master classes with both local communities and participants visiting the film festival.