Samsara, Sanskrit for “the ever turning wheel of life”, is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.

Filmed over a period of almost five years and in 25 countries, Samsara transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites and natural wonders. This non-verbal, non-narrative documentary film explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man’s spirituality and the human experience.

Through powerful images photographed entirely in 70mm film, Samsara illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycles mirror the rhythm of the planet.



Paths of the Soul

Paths of the Soul chronicles an extraordinary journey by Tibetan villagers on a gruelling 2,000 kilometre pilgrimage to the holy capital of Lhasa.

When two inhabitants of a Tibetan mountain village decide to undertake a pilgrimage to the holy city of Lhasa, nine others, including a pregnant woman and a girl, join them. As they stoically endure harsh winter conditions, physical exhaustion and the numerous hazards on the road over months, the film develops into a stirring salute to their spiritual devotion and quiet determination.

This breathtaking road movie is filmed with non-professional actors and a non-scripted narrative, blurring the boundaries between documentary and drama to create a fictionalised account of true events, woven into an absorbing and moving tale.


Namo OK (sold out)

A jolly tale unravels in a small Thai temple located in the tranquil town of Petchburi, where a foreign monk is struck by lightning and stays at the temple to recover his memory.  A flurry of whimsical events ensues as he adapts to the monastic way of life, asking simple yet fundamental questions that permeate the core of Buddhist practice.

This light-hearted Thai comedy takes an unabashed look into the widespread cultural phenomenon of superstitious worshippers who flock to temples to pray out of greed and passion. Ludicrous episodes from everyday temple life show how often devotees and monks place far more importance on superficial formalities than the Buddha’s Teachings, and thus invites the viewer to laugh and reflect.


The Dalai Lama The 14th (sold out)

How many people can really say they know the man and not just the religious giant he is?

In this documentary you will meet the Dalai Lama as you have never seen him before. The camera goes into the areas of his life that were only accessible to his staff. What you will see through the camera lens is a person relaxing with his glasses off while sipping tea. You will see a monk reading his prayer books and going over the daily assignments. You will meet the Dalai Lama up close and personal. The documentary reveals the Dalai Lama’s agonising and difficult path as well as the essence of the Tibetan issues.


Saving Mes Aynak (sold out)

Saving Mes Aynak follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent destruction. A Chinese state-owned mining company plans to mine the copper deposits beneath it; the operation will demolish the ancient city together with the entire mountain range.

A magnificent Buddhist settlement along the Silk Road, Mes Aynak can be the most important archaeological discovery in a generation. The excavated fraction of the site reveals that future digs will possibly redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself.

Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archaeologists face what seems an impossible battle against Chinese developers, Taliban terrorists and local politics to save their cultural heritage from likely erasure.


Zen And War (sold out)

In the beginning of the 20th century, Japan waged a number of wars, which culminated in the Second World War. In 1998, the book Zen at War was published in the United States describing in detail how Buddhist monks actively fought in these wars.

A Zen Buddhist woman in Holland was appalled by what she read in the book and wrote letters to Japanese monasteries inquiring how it was possible that Zen Buddhist monks were involved in warfare.

This documentary features, for the first time, Shodo Harada Roshi and other contemporary Zen Buddhist masters attempting to explain why their wartime predecessors became involved in Japanese militarism. Zen and War is a powerful reminder and timely warning of how peaceful philosophies can be waylaid by extremist ideologies.


Journey From Zanskar (sold out)

One of the last places on Earth where the original Tibetan Buddhist way of life still exists, Zanskar’s inaccessibility and isolation have protected it from cultural change. Two monks select 17 children aged 4 to 12 who will separate from their families for most of their lives to receive education, so that their cultural heritage will not be lost. With yaks and horses, they embark on an almost impossible ten-day trek through the deep snow of the Himalayas.

With a guest appearance by the Dalai Lama himself, this remarkable journey witnesses the amazing resilience of the people of Zanskar. See them laugh in the face of crushing disappointment; hear the children sing while riding into a dangerous, unknown future.


家在水草丰茂的地方 River Road (sold out)

Two Yugur ethnic minority brothers embark on a road trip across desertified prairies with their camels, passing through the Silk Road to go home to their parents. They trek from their grandfather’s home near town to the distant grasslands where their parents have moved to find pastures to herd their sheep. The two boys are confronted with barren landscapes, abandoned villages, and decaying relics. Their journey becomes a search for their identity as Yugurs.

This coming-of-age film offers us an unflinching look at the grisly aftermath when natural resources are continuously exploited. Mourning the succumbing of the Yugur civilisation to environmental degradation and industrialisation, it compels us to think about what we have lost in the pursuit of modernisation.




The Mindful Revolution (sold out)

It sounds like the perfect antidote to our hectic lives: less stress, better concentration, increased productivity. No wonder mindfulness meditation has become an attractive addition to the boardroom agenda for global giants like Google and SAP. Backed up by science, corporate organisations are rapidly turning to mindfulness to help develop their business model.

The Mindful Revolution takes a critical look behind the façade of this global corporate phenomenon to reveal a series of burning ethical issues about the values of our economic system.

Is mindfulness a way for businesses to simply boost their profits and productivity? Or does this revolution offer an opportunity to change the way our businesses operate, creating a more equal and fair society?


Tashi And The Monk (sold out)

On a remote mountaintop a brave social experiment is taking place.

Former Buddhist monk Lobsang Phuntsok was trained under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In 2006, he left a life as a spiritual teacher in the United States to return to the Himalayan foothills near Bhutan, where he creates a unique community rescuing orphaned and neglected children.

Five-year-old Tashi is the newest arrival. Her mother recently passed away and she was abandoned by her alcoholic father. Wild and troubled, Tashi is struggling to find her place amongst her 84 new siblings.

This documentary follows Lobsang as he struggles with limited resources and increasing demands in the process of building the community, capturing a journey of finding love and compassion where there is no hope.


Happiness (sold out)

Peyangki is a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk who has never  left his Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. At last, electricity is going to arrive in his tiny village, a decade after their ruler opened up Bhutan to television and the internet. He treks for three days to the nearest city in search of a television. But will television bring happiness?

Capturing the majesty of an isolated world on the brink of great change, Happiness provides a vivid glimpse into a vanishing way of life. This film is a witness to the moment where an ancient society falls to the seduction of technology, illuminating how complicated and bittersweet the arrival of progress can be.


Monk With A Camera

This feature documentary chronicles the life and spiritual quest of Nicholas “Nicky” Vreeland, grandson of legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. A glamorous social photographer at the age of 30, he walked away from a life of privilege and pleasure to become a monk at the Rato Monastery in India.

A disciple of Khyongla Rato Rinpoche, one of the spiritual teachers of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Nicky’s journey from photographer to monk, and most recently, to the abbot of the monastery he helped rebuild, forms the core of the story.

This film is also about the deep bond between a teacher and his disciple, between East and West, and about finding balance in a world of impermanence.


Golden Kingdom

Four orphan boys, all novice monks, live in a Buddhist monastery in the remote mountains of Northeast Myanmar. The head monk departs on a long journey from which he may never return. Once the boys are on their own, magical phenomena begin to occur. Witazara, the eldest, realises he must protect the three other boys, as a series of peculiar events threatens to unravel the fabric of the young monks’ reality.

Shot entirely in Myanmar with non-actors, this surreal coming-of-age story unfolds from a forgotten part of the world where there is neither electricity nor telephone. Merged with elements of ethnographic documentary, Golden Kingdom opens insights into a previously unseen Myanmar that is transforming by the moment.


Samsara (sold out)

Samsara, Sanskrit for “the ever turning wheel of life”, is the point of departure for the filmmakers as they search for the elusive current of interconnection that runs through our lives.

Filmed over a period of almost five years and in 25 countries, Samsara transports us to sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial sites and natural wonders. This non-verbal, non-narrative documentary film explores the wonders of our world from the mundane to the miraculous, looking into the unfathomable reaches of man’s spirituality and the human experience.

Through powerful images photographed entirely in 70mm film, Samsara illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycles mirror the rhythm of the planet.


From A Pimple To Nirvana

Alone in her room, 20-year-old Nuknik wallows in her frustrations with her divorced parents and a failed relationship with her boyfriend. She attempts to commit suicide, but gets distracted by a large pimple on her nose. Being obsessed with how others view her, the discovery of her pimple sets Nuknik on a journey into the imperfections of the world and herself, where she battles with the core of her existence.

With slight horror elements, this experimental film is a mirror for the modern viewer to recognise our restless state of anxiety, the constant preoccupation with our self image, and the vicious cycle of being caught up in our self-absorbed neurosis.


冬蝉 Winter Cicadas

A young filmmaker returns to China after his brother dies in a fire back home. He travels from the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to a remote monastery on the snowy Tian-Mu Mountain, where he reunites with his mother. His encounters with different people in the monastery become a subtle, intimate and mysterious study on the human condition.

Depicting the revival of life through the metaphor of the winter cicada, this film paints a poignant portrait of family, loss and guilt along with the steady beat of Buddhist chants.





长江图 Crosscurrent

Crosscurrent follows the winter journey of a small cargo boat sailing up the Yangtze River.

Gao Chun, the young captain, disembarks at every port on his journey in search of love. However, he gradually realises that the women he meets at different ports appear to be the same person, except that they get younger and younger as the ship sails upstream. Bewildered, he sails upriver alone to the snow-capped mountain, where the Yangtze River begins. There, he unveils the mystery of the woman and the secret of the river.

A breathtaking, poetic travelogue up the Yangtze River, Crosscurrent captures the stunning landscapes of modern China, together with her melancholic knots of yearning, mourning and the shifting sands of time.




Human (sold out)

Over a span of three years, emotional life stories were collected from more than 2,000 women and men in 60 countries in an attempt to answer the question: What is it that makes us human?

The result is Human, a documentary film that weaves together heartfelt testimonies from freedom fighters in Ukraine, farmers in Mali, death row inmates in the United States, and more — on the struggles and triumphs that unite us all: love, death, happiness, homophobia, war, poverty, and the future of our planet.

Through exclusive aerial footage showing our planet Earth at its most sublime, this epic record of our collective human experience allows us to embrace the human condition and redefine the meaning of our existence.



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Shaw Theatres Lido
350 Orchard Road,
5th/6th Floor, Shaw House,
Singapore 238868

How to get there

By Train
Orchard MRT Station (North-South Line)
Exit from station. Walk via underpass in the direction of Scotts Road. Go up the escalator leading to Shaw House.

By Bus
5, 7, 36, 54, 77, 105, 106, 111, 123, 124, 132, 143, 162M, 167, 171, 174, 190, 502, 518, 700A


Media Coverage

Buddha 2 was featured in i-weekly.

THIS2014 was featured in Zaobao, with special mention of BUDDHA 2 the first animated film to make our list and the beautifully shot SUN BEATEN PATH.

MY MANDALA was featured in Straits Times! Yes, the director Elsa Yang was a film critic before she made the film, inspired about the appearance of Tibetan lamas in Taiwan.


As a non-profit organization, we invite you to be part of our vision of bringing quality films to Singapore audiences. To find out how you can contribute do write to: 

As a non-profit organization, volunteers play an important role in our programmes and services. To find out more about volunteering opportunities with us, do write to: 


Revisit our past festival offerings here:




About Us

About Dharma In Action

Dharma In Action Limited (DIA) is a Company Limited by Guarantee officially incorporated in Singapore.  Our mission is to present cultural and educational programmes rooted in Buddhist values and philosophies to the local community.  We aspire to provide a dynamic platform for exchanges of ideas and cultivation of friendship to promote a society of compassion and wisdom.

DIA activities are organised mainly by volunteers from all walks of life and various age groups.  The THIS Buddhist Film Festival is our signature biennial event.  We are always looking to develop new events and look forward to suggestions from our supporters.

For more information about DIA, please visit

About THIS

THIS Buddhist Film Festival (THIS) is organised by Dharma in Action, a signature biennial event that aims to promote awareness of the Buddha’s timeless Teachings and the diversity of Buddhism through specially curated films that reflect the cultural, social and religious aspects of this world religion. Playing on the oft-cited verse “Thus have I heard” recited by Venerable Ananda at the start of many Buddhist sutras, THIS Buddhist Film Festival hopes to achieve a similar effect amongst the audience as they discuss Buddhist Teachings, philosophy, way of life and reflect within themselves.

Our People

Chairman: Teo Puay Kim
Vice Chairman: Cell Lim Siew Wee
Advisor: Teo Swee Leng
Marketing Executive: Xu Jingyi
Ticketing Executive: Lim Sin Mian

Film Programming
Chan Boon Kian
Cell Lim Siew Wee
Low Cheng Hyork
Wendy Low
Poh Yong Hui
Renee Tan
Karen Yeh

Poh Yong Hui
Elaine Sng

Elis Ch’ng
Chua Pair Shen
Fu Chun Li
Louise Phua
Chloe Tan
Teo Puay Kim
Jason Wee