DAY 01

SAT 22/9

Set in the 16th century ‘Age of Civil War’, Flower and Sword follows the tribulations of a monk as he works with flowers to bring peace to the land. Senko Ikenobo is one of the ‘flower monks’ of Rokkakudo Temple.  Due to his exceptional skills in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Senko is unwillingly thrusted into the limelight as he attempts to pacify the murderous tendencies of warlords during this strife-filled war-torn period of medieval Japan.

Karma portrays 19-year-old Sun, who becomes a fugitive after he ran over a girl in an accident. To escape the law, he unwillingly ordains as a novice in a remote north-eastern forest monastery without real faith. On the night after his ordination, he steps on the offering to the hungry ghost and the act brings him to a confrontation with a hungry ghost who comes to ask for the merit that was lost because of his action. In the meantime, he is also haunted by the ghost of the girl who died in the accident.

Detective Kinley is sent to a remote region of Bhutan to investigate the disappearance of a Buddhist nun. He goes undercover and enters a risky alliance with his only suspect, a mysterious and alluring young woman named Choden, known to the villagers as a demoness. As Choden draws Kinley into her world, his supervisor takes him off the case, sending Kinley spiralling into delirium and nightmares. Honeygiver Among the Dogs is the debut feature by Bhutanese director Dechen Roder, one of the Himalayan nation’s few female directors. Her film merges spirituality and tradition with the classic hallmarks of the film noir genre.

DAY 02

SUN 23/9

“Hygge” has exploded in popularity amidst growing division and distrust around the world, but the Danish word and its definition are more complicated than it seems. For those who seek happiness, this exploratory documentary travels around the globe to discover the true meaning of “hygge” and how to find it.

Set in a beautiful Himalayan valley, it’s a journey of a neglected and abandoned mute boy, who loses his mother at birth and is furiously neglected by his father. When his father goes behind bars, the boy stares at a lonely and deserted life ahead. His relationship with an elderly Buddhist monk helps him to detach from his voiceless suffering and to explore the bond that each creation shares with nature. With nowhere to go, he joins a Buddhist monastery even as he fights an inner battle of unrequited love.

Set at an ancient nunnery above the majestic Irrawaddy River, A Thousand Mothers is an unprecedented look into the lives of Buddhist nuns in Sagaing, Myanmar, an ancient religious region with one of the largest concentrations of monasticism in the world.  While the choices available to girls and women in Myanmar are quite limited, the film poetically unfolds to reveal unexpected opportunity and beauty as young orphans find a refuge, an education, and a healthy environment with older nuns who have dedicated their lives to service with the wit and wisdom required to live outside the pull of their rapidly modernising culture.

为拉达克的第一位安尼藏医。亦有住在山洞十年的老安尼多玛慈仁,讲述她们学习佛法的生活和故事。本片也纪录了小安尼秋田多玛十八岁时即成为小主持的欢乐与眼泪。更有德烈汪莫从西藏家乡一路磕长头花了一年多的时间费尽千辛万苦到印度学习佛法,经过十七年的苦读成为西藏第一批女格西(佛学博士)的故事。

Tsunma, an honorific term connoting “noble, delicate, and pure”, refers to the Tibetan Buddhist Nuns of the Himalayan Region who have been largely dismissed or forgotten by the traditions they follow and the societies they’ve served. Taiwanese photographer Lin Li-Fang undertook a solo journey up 4,270 meters into the Himalayan Plateau and lived for an entire summer with some of these nuns and recorded life in the unforgiving environment dubbed “The Roof of the World”. There, Li-Fang captured a life devoted to hope and faith and a people possessing a unique kind of tolerance, humility,
and perseverance.

DAY 03

MON 24/9

One Mind is a rare cinematic portrait of life inside one of China’s most austere and revered Chan Buddhism communities. The monks at Zhenru Chan Monastery continue to uphold a strict monastic code established over 1,400 years ago by the founding patriarchs of Chan Buddhism in China. In harmony with the land that sustains them, the monks operate an organic farm, grow tea, and harvest bamboo to fuel their kitchen fires. At the heart of this community, a group of cloistered meditators sit in silence for 8 hours every day. One Mind offers an intimate glimpse into a thriving Buddhist monastery in modern China.

DAY 04

TUE 25/9

A sensitively rendered documentary looking at the life and death of Shar Jones, a transgender person living with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and the difficult choice he and his wife Cynthia Vitale faced as the couple struggled to figure out how to proceed amidst his chaotic decline. Instead of letting his memory slip away and burdening Cynthia with years of care, the film highlights the couple’s journey as Shar pursues a conscious death. With an intimate visual style, Shar’s tale of gender identity gives his choice in death an especially telling element.

DAY 05

WED 26/9

Set in the 16th century ‘Age of Civil War’, Flower and Sword follows the tribulations of a monk as he works with flowers to bring peace to the land. Senko Ikenobo is one of the ‘flower monks’ of Rokkakudo Temple.  Due to his exceptional skills in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Senko is unwillingly thrusted into the limelight as he attempts to pacify the murderous tendencies of warlords during this strife-filled war-torn period of medieval Japan.

DAY 06

THU 27/9

Ninko, a young diligent Buddhist monk, has a serious problem: women (and some men too) are attracted to him. After a series of troubling encounters with infatuated women, Ninko starts a journey to seek purification and to escape from his troubles.

Bizarre and sometimes kitschy, the film follows Ninko as he comes to grip with the anguish of his hyper-sexualised world, mirroring our modern day society where we are constantly bombarded by sexuality and its allure. Suffering of Ninko turns on sensuality to overload and asks “does the suffering of Ninko come from external sources or from his internal weaknesses?”

DAY 07

FRI 28/9

The coming of age and a heart-warming tale of a young Rinpoche’s reincarnation and journey home.

Padma Angdu’s world turns upside down when the monastery where he belonged to expels him. He is recognised as a ‘Living Buddha’ in Ladakh, and the only thing that holds him together is the unfaltering love of his teacher. High expectations from his community leads the young Rinpoche into rebellion as he enters into adolescence. After having waited years in vain for his disciples from Tibet, the soon-to-be teenage Rinpoche and his aging teacher embark on an epic journey towards Tibet, in search of an answer.

How much would you sacrifice to fight for what you believe in?

A Cambodian Spring is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years, the film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian Spring’ and the tragic events that followed. This film is about the complexities – both political and personal, of fighting for what you believe in.

/  Ticket sale pending film classification

DAY 08

SAT 29/9

Shot by more than 40 filmmaking teams around the world, Sacred immerses viewers in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice. At a time when religious hatred dominates the world’s headlines, this film explores faith as a primary human experience, and how people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. The film’s director commissioned or sourced footage from top independent filmmakers from more than 25 countries — and a wide range of religious traditions — each team contributing a single scene.

After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a deer he just killed, Tabei, a young lonesome Tibetan cowboy, embarks on a long and difficult mission: to bring it back to the holy mountain of Buddha’s handprint. His journey turns sour as an obstinate woman, Qiong, and a psychic yet dumb elf, Pu, soon decide to join him. This is in addition to the two violent brothers on his tail, who are on a revenge quest.

The Last Dalai Lama? takes a fresh look at what is important for the 14th Dalai Lama at age 82: the historical confrontation between Tibet and China; his influence in political, spiritual, and educational spheres; and his personal feelings on aging, dying and whether he will be the last Dalai Lama. The film artfully weaves archival and contemporary footage from Lemle’s ground-breaking Compassion in Exile: The Story of The 14th Dalai Lama (1992); intimate interviews with His Holiness, shot 25 years apart; and interviews with his family and the westerners he’s inspired since his exile from Tibet in 1959. The film is enhanced by a beautiful original music score composed and performed by Philip Glass and Tibetan musician, Tenzin Choegyal.

/  Ticket sale pending film classification

As the dust was still settling after WWII and the Cold War divided the world, the mysterious and impenetrable mountain kingdom of Tibet sent out a plea to help stop the communist forces of China from invading their country. They chose the most well-known newsman of his day to document their plight, hoping to garner international support to protect their borders from the Red Army. Lowell Thomas, along with his son, became only the seventh and eighth Westerners invited to walk through the Western Gate of Lhasa.  Meeting the 15-year-old Dalai Lama was an adventure of a lifetime for them, and the start of a relationship between His Holiness and the Thomas family that has now spanned three generations.

Out of this World is a digitised and re-released version of an original film print from the 1950’s by Lowell Thomas, which will include new scenes and information, as well as photographs from the original trip and those from our 2016 expedition.

/  Ticket sale pending film classification

Schedule

FLOWER AND SWORD 花戦さ (opening)

Set in the 16th century ‘Age of Civil War’, Flower and Sword follows the tribulations of a monk as he works with flowers to bring peace to the land. Senko Ikenobo is one of the ‘flower monks’ of Rokkakudo Temple.  Due to his exceptional skills in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Senko is unwillingly thrusted into the limelight as he attempts to pacify the murderous tendencies of warlords during this strife-filled war-torn period of medieval Japan.

Spanning decades in its narration, Flower and Sword is a rare film on the art of Ikebana and features famous Kyogen actor Mansai Nomura and many other established Japanese actors. The film expounds on the Buddhist values of non-violence, even amidst tyranny, and mindfulness as Senko digs deep into his heart and wisdom to save himself and his compatriots during these difficult times.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

KARMA

Karma portrays 19-year-old Sun, who becomes a fugitive after he ran over a girl in an accident. To escape the law, he unwillingly ordains as a novice in a remote north-eastern forest monastery without real faith. On the night after his ordination, he steps on the offering to the hungry ghost and the act brings him to a confrontation with a hungry ghost who comes to ask for the merit that was lost because of his action. In the meantime, he is also haunted by the ghost of the girl who died in the accident.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

HONEYGIVER AMONG THE DOGS

Detective Kinley is sent to a remote region of Bhutan to investigate the disappearance of a Buddhist nun. He goes undercover and enters a risky alliance with his only suspect, a mysterious and alluring young woman named Choden, known to the villagers as a demoness. As Choden draws Kinley into her world, his supervisor takes him off the case, sending Kinley spiralling into delirium and nightmares. Honeygiver Among the Dogs is the debut feature by Bhutanese director Dechen Roder, one of the Himalayan nation’s few female directors. Her film merges spirituality and tradition with the classic hallmarks of the film noir genre.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

* There will be a post screening discussion with the film director

FINDING HYGGE

“Hygge” has exploded in popularity amidst growing division and distrust around the world, but the Danish word and its definition are more complicated than it seems. For those who seek happiness, this exploratory documentary travels around the globe to discover the true meaning of “hygge” and how to find it.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

SOUND OF SILENCE

Set in a beautiful Himalayan valley, it’s a journey of a neglected and abandoned mute boy, who loses his mother at birth and is furiously neglected by his father. When his father goes behind bars, the boy stares at a lonely and deserted life ahead. His relationship with an elderly Buddhist monk helps him to detach from his voiceless suffering and to explore the bond that each creation shares with nature. With nowhere to go, he joins a Buddhist monastery even as he fights an inner battle of unrequited love.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

A THOUSAND MOTHERS

Set at an ancient nunnery above the majestic Irrawaddy River, A Thousand Mothers is an unprecedented look into the lives of Buddhist nuns in Sagaing, Myanmar, an ancient religious region with one of the largest concentrations of monasticism in the world.  While the choices available to girls and women in Myanmar are quite limited, the film poetically unfolds to reveal unexpected opportunity and beauty as young orphans find a refuge, an education, and a healthy environment with older nuns who have dedicated their lives to service with the wit and wisdom required to live outside the pull of their rapidly modernising culture.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

TSUNMA TSUNMA 尊玛尊玛

为拉达克的第一位安尼藏医。亦有住在山洞十年的老安尼多玛慈仁,讲述她们学习佛法的生活和故事。本片也纪录了小安尼秋田多玛十八岁时即成为小主持的欢乐与眼泪。更有德烈汪莫从西藏家乡一路磕长头花了一年多的时间费尽千辛万苦到印度学习佛法,经过十七年的苦读成为西藏第一批女格西(佛学博士)的故事。

Tsunma, an honorific term connoting “noble, delicate, and pure”, refers to the Tibetan Buddhist Nuns of the Himalayan Region who have been largely dismissed or forgotten by the traditions they follow and the societies they’ve served. Taiwanese photographer Lin Li-Fang undertook a solo journey up 4,270 meters into the Himalayan Plateau and lived for an entire summer with some of these nuns and recorded life in the unforgiving environment dubbed “The Roof of the World”. There, Li-Fang captured a life devoted to hope and faith and a people possessing a unique kind of tolerance, humility, and perseverance.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

* There will be a post screening discussion with the film director

ONE MIND

One Mind is a rare cinematic portrait of life inside one of China’s most austere and revered Chan Buddhism communities. The monks at Zhenru Chan Monastery continue to uphold a strict monastic code established over 1,400 years ago by the founding patriarchs of Chan Buddhism in China. In harmony with the land that sustains them, the monks operate an organic farm, grow tea, and harvest bamboo to fuel their kitchen fires. At the heart of this community, a group of cloistered meditators sit in silence for 8 hours every day. One Mind offers an intimate glimpse into a thriving Buddhist monastery in modern China.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS

A sensitively rendered documentary looking at the life and death of Shar Jones, a transgender person living with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and the difficult choice he and his wife Cynthia Vitale faced as the couple struggled to figure out how to proceed amidst his chaotic decline. Instead of letting his memory slip away and burdening Cynthia with years of care, the film highlights the couple’s journey as Shar pursues a conscious death. With an intimate visual style, Shar’s tale of gender identity gives his choice in death an especially telling element.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

FLOWER AND SWORD 花戦さ

Set in the 16th century ‘Age of Civil War’, Flower and Sword follows the tribulations of a monk as he works with flowers to bring peace to the land. Senko Ikenobo is one of the ‘flower monks’ of Rokkakudo Temple.  Due to his exceptional skills in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, Senko is unwillingly thrusted into the limelight as he attempts to pacify the murderous tendencies of warlords during this strife-filled war-torn period of medieval Japan.

Spanning decades in its narration, Flower and Sword is a rare film on the art of Ikebana and features famous Kyogen actor Mansai Nomura and many other established Japanese actors. The film expounds on the Buddhist values of non-violence, even amidst tyranny, and mindfulness as Senko digs deep into his heart and wisdom to save himself and his compatriots during these difficult times.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

SUFFERING OF NINKO 仁光の受難

Ninko, a young diligent Buddhist monk, has a serious problem: women (and some men too) are attracted to him. After a series of troubling encounters with infatuated women, Ninko starts a journey to seek purification and to escape from his troubles.

Bizarre and sometimes kitschy, the film follows Ninko as he comes to grip with the anguish of his hyper-sexualised world, mirroring our modern day society where we are constantly bombarded by sexuality and its allure. Suffering of Ninko turns on sensuality to overload and asks “does the suffering of Ninko come from external sources or from his internal weaknesses?”

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

* There will be a post screening discussion with the film director

BECOMING WHO I WAS

The coming of age and a heart-warming tale of a young Rinpoche’s reincarnation and journey home.

Padma Angdu’s world turns upside down when the monastery where he belonged to expels him. He is recognised as a ‘Living Buddha’ in Ladakh, and the only thing that holds him together is the unfaltering love of his teacher. High expectations from his community leads the young Rinpoche into rebellion as he enters into adolescence. After having waited years in vain for his disciples from Tibet, the soon-to-be teenage Rinpoche and his aging teacher embark on an epic journey towards Tibet, in search of an answer.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

A CAMBODIAN SPRING

How much would you sacrifice to fight for what you believe in?

A Cambodian Spring is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years, the film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian Spring’ and the tragic events that followed. This film is about the complexities – both political and personal, of fighting for what you believe in.

/ Ticket sale pending film classification.   > MORE DETAILS

SACRED

Shot by more than 40 filmmaking teams around the world, Sacred immerses viewers in the daily use of faith and spiritual practice. At a time when religious hatred dominates the world’s headlines, this film explores faith as a primary human experience, and how people turn to ritual and prayer to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. The film’s director commissioned or sourced footage from top independent filmmakers from more than 25 countries -- and a wide range of religious traditions -- each team contributing a single scene.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

SOUL ON A STRING

After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a deer he just killed, Tabei, a young lonesome Tibetan cowboy, embarks on a long and difficult mission: to bring it back to the holy mountain of Buddha’s handprint. His journey turns sour as an obstinate woman, Qiong, and a psychic yet dumb elf, Pu, soon decide to join him. This is in addition to the two violent brothers on his tail, who are on a revenge quest.

> MORE DETAILS   > BOOK TICKETS

THE LAST DALAI LAMA?

The Last Dalai Lama? takes a fresh look at what is important for the 14th Dalai Lama at age 82: the historical confrontation between Tibet and China; his influence in political, spiritual, and educational spheres; and his personal feelings on aging, dying and whether he will be the last Dalai Lama. The film artfully weaves archival and contemporary footage from Lemle’s ground-breaking Compassion in Exile: The Story of The 14th Dalai Lama (1992); intimate interviews with His Holiness, shot 25 years apart; and interviews with his family and the westerners he’s inspired since his exile from Tibet in 1959. The film is enhanced by a beautiful original music score composed and performed by Philip Glass and Tibetan musician, Tenzin Choegyal.

/ Ticket sale pending film classification.

 

> MORE DETAILS

 

OUT OF THIS WORLD

As the dust was still settling after WWII and the Cold War divided the world, the mysterious and impenetrable mountain kingdom of Tibet sent out a plea to help stop the communist forces of China from invading their country. They chose the most well-known newsman of his day to document their plight, hoping to garner international support to protect their borders from the Red Army. Lowell Thomas, along with his son, became only the seventh and eighth Westerners invited to walk through the Western Gate of Lhasa.  Meeting the 15-year-old Dalai Lama was an adventure of a lifetime for them, and the start of a relationship between His Holiness and the Thomas family that has now spanned three generations.

Out of this World is a digitised and re-released version of an original film print from the 1950’s by Lowell Thomas, which will include new scenes and information, as well as photographs from the original trip and those from our 2016 expedition.

/ Ticket sale pending film classification

 

> MORE DETAILS

 

THISBFF Dialogue with Film Makers

Thus Have I Seen Buddhist Film Festival (THISBFF) 2018 is pleased to announce our inaugural THISBFF Dialogue with Film Makers of our featured films this year. Join Lin Li Fang and Dechen Roder as they share what motivates them to overcome challenges faced in making films with religious themes.

This Dialogue will be conducted in English and moderated by Mr Tan Bee Thiam.

Date : Sunday, 23 September 2018
Time : 7.00pm
Venue : Lido 2

Free Admission.

Dechen Roder is one of the first female directors from the Kingdom of Bhutan. She has been making small shorts and documentaries since 2005. She is also the co-founder and organiser of the only film festival in Bhutan – Beskop Tshechu Film Festival.

Lin Li-Fang, a Taiwanese, began traveling to India in 1999, documenting the life and work of Tibetan Buddhist Monks. In 2002, she received her MFA in Documentary Filmmaking from the National Taiwan University of Arts Graduate School of Applied
Media Arts.

Tan Bee Thiam has worked as a director, producer, writer and editor with the 13 Little Pictures, an independent film collective whose films have garnered critical acclaim. Based in Singapore, his films and projects have been presented in many international film festivals. From 2014 to 2017, he was the film curator for the Singapore International Festival of Arts.

LIMITED EDITION MEMORABILIA

THISBFF Silver Medallion

佛教电影节银币

Help us keep Thus Have I Seen Buddhist Film Festival (THISBFF) going! Support us by purchasing our special edition THISBFF silver medallion. Priced at S$108 each, all proceeds will go towards the organising of THISBFF.

今年我们推出了限量版THIS佛教电影节银币。每枚银币售价108新币, 所得收入将全数作为THIS佛教电影节主办经费。

Please email us for info at sales[at]thisfilmfest.com

venue

Shaw Theatres Lido350 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

GOOGLE MAP

Support

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: info@thisfilmfest.com 

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: info@thisfilmfest.com 


THE ORGANISER

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. Thus Have I Seen Buddhist Film Festival is our signature biennial event. We are always looking to develop new events and look forward to suggestions from our supporters.

Organising Committee

Chairman
Teo Puay Kim

Vice Chairman
Cell Lim Siew Wee

Advisor
Teo Swee Leng

Marketing & PR Consultant
Elaine Sng

Ticketing Executive
Lim Sin Mian

 

Film Programming
Chan Boon Kian
Elis Ch’n g
Cell Lim Siew Wee
Low Cheng Hyork
Poon Siew Hui
Karen Yeh

 

Fundraising
Chua Pair Shen
Fu Chun Li
Louise Phua
Seet Lorraine
Teo Puay Kim

Sponsors