New Hope for Film­mak­ers

Bhutanese film­mak­ers have found a new plat­form to dis­play their works in the form of Beskop Tshechu, a fes­ti­val of short films.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By Asra Khur­shid

The growth of Bhutanese film in­dus­try in such a short time in­di­cates a bright fu­ture.

Bhutan, a small coun­try with a rich cul­ture, is sand­wiched be­tween other South Asian coun­tries that have strong and allper­vad­ing cul­tures of their own. The ma­jor­ity of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is Bud­dhist but Hin­duism is also quite preva­lent. An in­ter­est­ing fact about Bhutan is that it is the only coun­try in the world where peo­ple’s well-be­ing is mea­sured by a Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness in­dex.

The coun­try is also known for its rich art and cul­tural back­ground, which is quite sim­i­lar to that of Ti­bet’s and is mostly in­spired by Bud­dhist art forms. Af­ter re­main­ing se­cluded for a long time, Bhutan is grad­u­ally open­ing up to the world and the peo­ple of Bhutan are ex­plor­ing new av­enues to broaden their hori­zon and present their cul­ture in new forms, one of them be­ing short films and doc­u­men­taries.

Bhutan’s en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, es­pe­cially the cin­ema in­dus­try, is not a de­vel­oped one. In fact, in comparison with the film in­dus­tries of neigh­bor­ing coun­tries such as In­dia, the in­dus­try in Bhutan seems to be in its early stages of de­vel­op­ment.

The first film made in Bhutan was Gasa La­mai Singye, which was re­leased in 1989. Since then only 89 films have been made. Out of these, a few went on to gain in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and even won some in­ter­na­tional awards.

The plot of most of Bhutanese films re­volves around tra­di­tional folk­lore, legends, cul­ture and his­tory. How­ever, some of the re­cent movies seem to be more in­spired by both Hol­ly­wood and Bol­ly­wood themes, es­pe­cially the Hindi films and their songs that seem to have a strong in­flu­ence on young Bhutanese film­mak­ers.

In re­cent years, a num­ber of Bhutanese film­mak­ers have taken their movies to film fes­ti­vals around the world. Thanks to their ex­po­sure to the con­cept, film fes­ti­vals are

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