WED 21 SEP | 7:15pm / Singapore Premiere
English with no subtitles
Directors: Guido Santi & Tina Mascara
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.
Guido Santi started his career working as an apprentice with Ipotesi Cinema. He wrote and directed Concertino, a film about four teenagers living in the suburbs of Rome, for RAI, Italy’s national television network. After receiving his Master’s degree in Film Production at the University of Southern California, Guido has produced and directed documentaries and TV specials, as well as a feature film.
After studying journalism and photography at the Art Institute in Pittsburgh, Tina Mascara graduated from the film programme at the Los Angeles City College, and then wrote, produced and directed two award-winning independent feature films: Jacklight (2000) and Asphalt Stars (2002). In 2008, Tina and Guido Santi together produced, directed and edited Chris & Don: A Love Story, on the life-long relationship between a British writer and American painter.
A man who is not afraid of committing to a spiritual path, and in the process finds a greater reason to pursue his work as an artist – this is an original story that can appeal, not only to people interested in religion and photography, but also to an audience who is passionate about stories of exceptional individuals who defy their times.
Nicky’s story can help us to better understand ourselves, the time in which we live, and the way we perceive monasticism, specifically life in a Tibetan monastery. It also offers us a historical perspective on Tibetan Buddhism from the point of view of a monk who is deeply engaged in preserving its message and tradition.