Tibetan films in Hilo, a pleasant surprise

By Oscar Jaitt

PAHOA, Hawaii, 13 February 2007 — I was delighted when I heard that there would be a Tibetan Film Festival in my home town of Hilo, Hawaii.

I have been to Dharamshala, India, home of the exiled Tibetans, several times and am very interested in everything having to do with Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.

I thought I had seen most of the films dealing with Tibet already, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the list of films that were being presented at the Tibetan Film Festival. I had not seen a single one of them!

So I went to every showing every Wednesday and Thursday night for four weeks in a row. I am so glad that I did because I learned so much. Not just from the films themselves, but also from the question and answer period after every film. I was really surprised at how knowledgeable the host of the festival Lobsang Wangyal really is. He not only answered every question patiently and precisely, but he also seemed to gear the answer to the level of knowledge of the person asking the question.

At the festival it seemed most of the people were finding out about Tibet for the first time, but there were also a few people that were familiar with the issues surrounding Tibet. It was very nice to see several films made by Tibetans themselves. Most of the films I had seen previously were made by westerners, so they tended to present issues from strictly a western point of view.

One of the films was especially interesting to me: The Angry Monk, because I had never heard of this interesting person Gedhun Choephel before.

I have been studying Tibetan Buddhism for about 14 years and had never heard of him. I thought that this was rather strange. It seems to be a well-kept secret I would not have found out about if I had not gone to the Film Festival.

I sincerely hope that Lobsang Wangyal continues to tour the USA with all these movies. We in the USA are quite ignorant and need to learn about the important issues surrounding Tibet that are presented in these movies.

The film festival was held at the Palace Theatre in Hilo from the 3rd to the 25th of January 2007, every Wednesdays and Thursdays. Ed.

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