MON 19 SEP | 7:15pm / Singapore Premiere
Hindi, Tibetan, English with English subtitles
Director: Andrew Hinton & Johnny Burke
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.
Andrew Hinton began his career in filmmaking working on documentary and drama productions for Pawel Pawlikowski and Marc Isaacs, before moving on to performance films and musical feature documentaries. He lived on an Indian train to document the Jagriti Yatra, a journey around India with 500 young social entrepreneurs; then followed a paperboy in Jamshedpur for a day, creating the short film Amar (2011) which won the Vimeo Documentary Award. He also worked with an NGO to make a film about hand washing, It’s In Your Hands (2011), that went viral on Youtube.
Johnny Burke learned his craft at Cinecontact Productions under the guidance of renowned observational filmmakers such as Sean McAllister and Kim Longinotto. Johnny spent the next ten years editing documentary films for broadcast, including Boys From Baghdad High (2007), The Yes Men Fix the World (2009). In 2009 he began to broaden his skills into producing, and directed his own short and mid-length films.
I was originally drawn to India by a bank manager bringing about social change, and then kept being pulled back to that strange, magical and chaotic country by inspirational stories and people.
I first visited Jhamtse Gatsal in April 2012 to shoot a piece for the Thiel Foundation. My three day visit turned into three happy weeks and I left promising to return one day to make a longer film about the community. In October 2013 I went back and was joined by old friend and fellow filmmaker Johnny Burke to document the quietly remarkable lives of Lobsang and the Jhamtse family.