Exclusive Bonus Offer:
During checkout you have the optional opportunity to SAVE 68% on Sharon Salzberg's 4-hour pre-recorded workshop, "Compassionate Action: The Fierce Heart in Challenging Times."
You will have Lifetime Access to the workshop.
This optional offer is only available when you buy a BuddhaFest pass.
This year’s film program is primarily dedicated to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 88th birthday (July 6). Seven feature documentaries plus two unreleased full-length interviews with HHDL are included, along with a feature documentary about Mingyur Rinpoche, and a musical performance film featuring Philip Glass and Tenzin Choegyal. In addition, Gaetano Kazuo Maida interviews author Pico Iyer about his lifetime of knowing His Holiness.
Compassion in Exile
Director: Mickey Lemle
USA / English / 60 min
This is an intimate and influential (reputed to be a key reference for Melissa Mathison’s script for Kundun) portrait of Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. He is the embodiment of the ideal of his Buddhist heritage and practice, and his life story is an inspiring lesson in compassion and peace. For this film, the Dalai Lama personally granted director Mickey Lemle unprecedented access and cooperation. With candor and humor, he describes his upbringing and key moments in his life. WIth historic and some never-before-seen footage, his remarkable story is also remembered by the people closest to him, including his older brother, his sister, and Heinrich Harrer (his childhood tutor and the author of Seven Years In Tibet). Tibetan exiles are interviewed for direct testimony about conditions in Tibet under the Chinese, and the Dalai Lama himself voices his concerns for Tibet, his lack of hatred of the Chinese, and his hopes for a peaceful future.
Heart of Tibet
Director: David Cherniak
USA / English / 60 min
Heart of Tibet offers a rounded and illuminating portrait of the exiled 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter appears and calls him "a new kind of leader," one whose spirituality informs every aspect of his life and commitment. This was filmed during the preparation and performance of the Kalachakra, an important Tibetan Buddhist initiation ritual. "Everyone has the responsibility to shape the future of humanity, so let us try to contribute as much as we can," the Dalai Lama says in an interview.
In Search of Kundun
Director: Michael Wilson
USA / English / 85 min
The making of Martin Scorsese’s 1997 ground-breaking film Kundun was an historic event, the first feature film treatment of the life of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Michael Wilson documented this emotion-filled encounter of Scorsese and his Italian and American team with the Tibetans who portrayed the key figures in the tumultuous recent history of Tibet. Features compelling interviews with Scorsese, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and screenwriter Melissa Mathison; filmed on location in Morocco and India. New, remastered version.
Director: Natalie Fuchs
France / Tibetan and French with English subtitles / 83 min
High production values and a classic narrative strategy (some really fine footage; probably the most complete Kalachakra ceremony footage seen by the general public), with HHDL in top form, make this an excellent cinema experience. Immersed in the colourful and vibrant setting of Dharamsala, India, a woman and three individuals from very different backgrounds come together to face their deepest fears as they approach the transformational power of the Kalachakra initiation there. With unprecedented intimate access to this ritual led by the Dalai Lama and followed by millions, we enter and discover an ancient dimension where death meets life, a dimension that can be life-changing.
The Last Dalai Lama?
Director: Mickey Lemle
USA / English / 81 min
Mickey Lemle (Ram Dass Fierce Grace) updates his groundbreaking Compassion in Exile profile of the Dalai Lama with this intimate look at the enduring good humor and gentle wisdom of His Holiness, then eighty-one. Addressing his own death, the Dalai Lama considers the challenges of the prospect of his reincarnation, with Tibet still under Chinese control; his urgency and dedication come through powerfully. Filmed on location in India, and featuring vivid archival footage, with a powerful original score by Philip Glass and Tenzin Choegyal.
The Sun Behind the Clouds
Directors: Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam
India / English, and Tibetan with English subtitles / 79 min
In The Sun Behind the Clouds, Tibetan filmmakers Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin take a uniquely Tibetan perspective on the trials and tribulations of the Dalai Lama and his people as they continue their struggle for freedom in the face of determined suppression by China. The filmmakers had intimate access to the Dalai Lama and followed him over the course of an eventful year, which included the 2008 protests in Tibet, the international response to it, the Beijing Olympics, and the breakdown in talks between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government. Against this backdrop, the film explores the interplay between the personal and the historic, spirituality and politics, and the tension between the Dalai Lama’s efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Tibet situation based on compromise and dialogue, and the impatience of a younger generation of Tibetans who are ready to take a more confrontational course.
Wheel of Time
Director: Werner Herzog
Germany / English / 80 min
Renowned filmmaker Werner Herzog (Nosferatu, Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man) applies his eccentric passion and vast cinematic skill to a discovery of Tibetan Buddhism. With Germanic precision and an initiate’s delight, Herzog features His Holiness the Dalai Lama performing the special Kalachakra initiation ceremony in Bodhgaya, India, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment, and then goes on pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash.
Wandering…But Not Lost
Director: Paul McGowan
USA / English / 89 min
Celebrated Tibetan Buddhist meditation teacher Mingyur Rinpoche walks away from his life of comfort to live that of a wandering yogi, spending four and a half years incognito on the streets of India, Nepal, and in Himalayan caves. He returns to share insights gained into the true nature of mind. Layered over this story is exceptional footage of ancient holy places, such as Langtang, Nubri, Dolpo, and Lapchi, where Tibet’s most famous yogi and poet Jetsun Milarepa (1052–1135) lived in solitary meditation. Kushinagar, where the Buddha passed away, Varanasi, Rishikesh, Ladakh, and Amritsar are also featured, along with one of the holiest Hindu shrines on the subcontinent, Vaishno Devi, reached by an arduous 14-kilometer hike up a mountain path full of joyous Hindu pilgrims.
“The entire path is a shift in perception.”—Mingyur Rinpoche
Featuring Matthieu Ricard
Featuring Robert A.F. Thurman, PhD
Featuring Ruth King
Featuring Ven. Thubten Chodron
Featuring Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Featuring Lama Tsultrim Allione
Featuring Craig Hamilton
Director: Arturo Bejar
USA / English / 51 min
A unique performance of the collaborative compositions by Philip Glass and Tenzin Choegyal for the film The Last Dalai Lama? This musical journey tells the story of the Dalai Lama and his people’s escape from Tibet into exile and beyond. For this very special performance Philip Glass brings together his friends Lavinia Meijer, Jaron Lanier, Will Calhoun, and Alex Weston, and Tenzin’s brother Tsering D. Bawa to the Henry Miller Memorial Library in the woods of Big Sur. “Heart strings” in Tibetan (Nying Thig) means holding onto the heart wisdom of our ancestors. Presented courtesy of the Philip Glass Center for the Arts, Science, and the Environment.
With Drukmo Gyal Dakini
Drukmo Gyal Dakini brings to you a selection of mantras from the Buddhist and medical traditions of her homeland Tibet, combined with her pure voice and soaring melodies that guide the listener into a state of deep awareness and connection. Mantra healing is the practice of using sound and vibration as a healing medium. It is a powerful method for opening the heart, energy channels, and mind.