In the 1940s, as the fate of the Chinese people and the dignity of Chinese Buddhism fell into the nadir, a 14-year-old boy was ordained to be a Buddhist monk in Jiangsu Province, China. Since then he has embarked on a journey to pursue and spread the Dharma for nearly 70 years.
PRECIOUS GURU is a feature length documentary movie that gives vivid insight into the life, times and legacy of Padmasambhava – the 8th century Indian yogi who carried Buddhism over the Himalayas into Tibet. Beneath the tales of his fabulous exploits lies a radically relevant truth – the darker the times, the greater the potential for transformation.
SUN 6 SEP
Dr. Yu-Zheng Wu has long advocated for an end to futile medical care in Taiwan, hoping to stop the suffering of patients – until he meets Jin-Yu Liu at the respiratory care center. Dr. Wu hopes to hear from Jin-Yu on the immense pain he experiences as a patient of futile medical care, but when they grow closer, the doctor suddenly finds himself wanting to help restore Jin-Yu’s will to live.
MON 7 SEP
During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, a Buddhist monk Pu Liang and his disciples provided shelter to many refugees. Their efforts go unappreciated when the refugees express their mistrust against Pu Liang after one of them discovers the monks performing a rite for a dead Japanese soldier. As the Japanese troops barge into the monastery, Pu Liang has to decide if he should put others before himself.
The film follows a single mum, Liping, who is affected by her son’s decision to ordain as a monk. When reality kicks in the day before her son’s ordination, Liping’s fear of loneliness becomes prominent as her son prepares to embark on a new journey as a monastic. She begins to cast doubts on her faith and struggles to choose between letting go or holding on to the attachment to her son in his path of seeking enlightenment.
TUE 8 SEP
Shortly after Enlightenment, the Buddha said: “I shall not come to my final passing away, until my Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples… ” Even though the Buddha established the Bhikkhunī order, the line of female ordination in the Theravāda tradition died out in the 11th century. Since then, it is a common belief that nuns can no longer be ordained.
WED 9 SEP
Phra Pongsak Techadhammo was a Thai forest monk who risked his life to save the forests of Chiang Mai. He was the first monk to bring together the government, the monastics, and the local people for forest conservation and rural development. The flowing rivers and lush forests of the Mae Soi Valley in Chiang Mai are his legacy — for which he was recognised by the United Nations Environmental Programme. This documentary tells his incredible story.
Post Screening Dialogues
For the first time in our festival history, Thus Have I Seen Buddhist Film Festival (THISBFF) 2020 is pleased to announce that THISBFF Dialogue with Filmmakers of our Official Selection will be in full attendance! Join each Filmmaker after the premiere of their films on Zoom to understand more about their filmmaking process, challenges and insights.
Each post screening dialogue will be conducted in English. Chinese translation will be provided for Mandarin speaking speakers.
Join us on Zoom at the following timeslots!
SAT 5 SEP | 3:00PM
MASTER SHENG YEN
With Director Chang Chao-wei
Chang Chao-wei, from Tainan, Taiwan, used to work as an editor of Pots Weekly, editor-in-chief of South Newsletter, contributing playwright/director of PTS TW, producer of The Moving Visuals Singapore, and head of documentary center, Sun TV HK. In 2006 Chao-wei co-founded CNEX and has since been the group’s Chief Producer. Chao-wei is also currently the Chief Content Adviser of Visible Influence Pictures Beijing.
SAT 5 SEP | 8:15PM
With Director Marc Wennberg
Marc Wennberg is a first-time filmmaker and full-time restorative justice consultant. PRECIOUS GURU took eight years to complete from conception to completion and was a journey of learning and then more learning. Marc lives happily in Burlington, Vermont, with his wife and cat.
SUN 6 SEP | 2:15PM
With Director Maso Chen & Producer Ging Lee
Maso Chen is a filmmaker specialising in documentary making and cinematography. In 2008, he founded The Classic Vision Co., Ltd. with director Wu Tai-jen and released its debut film titled Let’s Fall In Love. He also won Best International Potential Prize at the CNEX Documentary Festival for the film The Silent Teacher, Chen’s feature documentary debut in 2017.
SUN 6 SEP | 8:30PM
With Director Pailin Wedel
Pailin Wedel is a Thai-American journalist and filmmaker who grew up in Asia. She founded 2050 Productions in 2017. She works on documentaries that focus themes of faith, trauma and the clash between the East and the West.
MON 7 SEP | 8:30PM
LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
With Director Liew Shi Xiong
Liew Shi Xiong graduated from the Wee Kim Wee School, Nanyang Technological University in 2010 with a degree in Communication Studies. He was an amateur/hobbyist filmmaker and a nobody.
With Director Png Zhen Yu
Png Zhen Yu is a director whose works often revolve around human perception and values. He is a graduate from Nanyang Technological University, with a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Filmmaking). His experience includes working on corporate videos, short films and commercials.
TUE 8 SEP | 8:45PM
With Director Malgorzata Dobrowolska
Małgorzata Dobrowolska was born in Warsaw, Poland, and is an activist and documentary filmmaker who focuses on stories about women. She travels the world to document situations of women in main religions and other spiritual movements. She deeply believes that the key to reach world peace is to restore balance between the energy of men and women and bring about a change on a spiritual level.
WED 9 SEP | 8:40PM
With Producer Zen Master Dae Kwan and Director George Chang
Zen Master Dae Kwan is the Abbot and guiding teacher of Su Bong Zen Monastery in Hong Kong. She studied sutras at the Kwok Kwong Buddhist College and ordained at Ajahn Chah’s International Forest Monastery in Thailand. With full blessing from her Thai teacher, Phra Pongsak Techadhammo, she returned to Hong Kong in 1992 to help establish Su Bong Zen Monastery, where she has been teaching Zen ever since.
George Chang worked in TVB Public Affairs as producer and cameraman in the late 70’s, and Cinematographer for local feature films and commercial films in the 80’s and 90’s. He was Assistant Professor in film and video productions of Hong Kong Baptist University, and directed Artists’ and Designers’ Series for the Hong Kong Museum of Fine Arts and the Heritage Museum.
Single Tickets are suitable for those who wish to catch specific screenings of interest. But to fully appreciate the specially curated programme of THIS Buddhist Film Festival 2020: Online Edition (THISBFF)*, simply purchase our Festival Pass to watch all 8 films!
If you wish to donate to our cause and contribute to the next THISBFF, get the Festival Bundle as you will receive a limited edition THISBFF Silver Medallion plus a complimentary Festival Pass to watch all our films this year!
Hurry now to get your Festival Pass, and enjoy 20% Early Bird Discount from 30 July to 4 August 2020)!
(Price excludes SISTIC Booking Fee)
*This event is geo-restricted and only accessible to Patrons geographically located in Singapore and Malaysia only.
**After the Premiere, all films continue to be available for online viewing until 13 September 2020, 11:59pm.
Dharma In Action Limited (DIA) is a Company Limited by Guarantee officially incorporated in Singapore since 2009. 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.
For more information on Dharma In Action Limited please visit www.dharmainaction.net
THIS BUDDHIST FILM FESTIVAL 2020: ONLINE EDITION ORGANISING COMMITTEE
TEO PUAY KIM
TEO SWEE LENG
Marketing & PR Consultant
POH YONG HUI
GAY SI HUI
FIlm Programming Team
CHAN BOON KIAN
CHUA PAIR SHEN
GAY SI HUI
LOW CHENG HYORK
CHUA PAIR SHEN
TEO PUAY KIM
LIM SIN MIAN
Welcome to the sixth edition of Thus Have I Seen Buddhist Film Festival (THISBFF). Over the past decade, THISBFF has grown to be a highly anticipated event on the calendar of the local community. As always, we are happy to be back with a slate of excellent Buddhist-themed films.
This year, like everyone, we are faced with an unprecedented challenge of adjusting to the “new normal” set by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this difficult period, we are very much fortunate to be able to rely on the wisdom and compassion taught within the Buddhist Teachings to guide us.
Going online is a great solution that allows our specially curated films to be accessible to everyone from the safety and comfort of their homes. It is also a new opportunity to partake in a collective film viewing experience together with our loved ones and friends. One exciting outcome is that we are now able to cross the geographical barrier to share the films with our friends in Malaysia for the first time.
THISBFF 2020 Online Edition will be presenting eight films curated along the themes of Buddhist Masters, Facing Death, and Activism in Buddhism. We are also proud to have the opportunity to present Singapore Shorts, consisting of two short films produced by Singaporean filmmakers. It is our wish to showcase more local productions in future.
We want to express our thanks to our sponsor, the filmmakers and our local partners. Their strong support has allowed THISBFF 2020 Online Edition to be put up quickly despite the constraints set by the pandemic.
In addition, we are deeply grateful to our Community Partners and supporters for the continued support through ticket purchases and social media sharing. A big thank you to our donors and well-wishers for believing in us and supporting us during this challenging period.
Finally, we have always believed in the cinematic experience, and we look forward to a time soon after the pandemic, so that we can all return to the theatres. Please continue to give us your feedback and suggestions as we work towards THISBFF 2021.
Thank you and stay safe.
Teo Puay Kim
Dharma In Action Limited