U of T Film & Workshop Series: Doc Film in Tibet & Burma

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New Voices, New Visions: Film & Workshop Series on Documentary Film in Tibet and Burma

On February 18-20, 2011, the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion has organized a showcase of films by emerging Tibetan and Burmese filmmakers. Filmmakers will be in attendance to discuss their films and discuss their work with Canadian documentary filmmakers.

The film presentations will be held on two of the University of Toronto campuses and will feature ethnographic films by young Tibetans from within China and young Burmese filmmakers, a lecture and film on Buddhism in Burma, and a workshop on documentary film and development in Asia. Interesting similarities between Burmese and Tibetan cultures – both of which flourish in strongly Buddhist, intellectually rich yet economically poor communities living within difficult political boundaries – make this cross-cultural comparison especially compelling. The weekend will feature works of emerging and established Tibetan filmmakers, most of which have never been shown  outside China, Burmese students participating in the Yangon (Rangoon) Film School, and established Anglo-Burman filmmaker Lindsey Merrison. Films will be followed by discussions with invited Toronto filmmakers. Discussions will also focus on the special value of participatory film projects for young people living in threatened cultural groups and on the potential of open access and open source tools and practices for these communities. The event venues will be enhanced by a stunning exhibit of images by Plateau Photographers, an open participatory photography project that trains minority students in western China.

Canadian Gemini Award winning filmmakers in attendance include Shelley Saywell, Cyrus Sundar Singh and others. Filmmaker Dorje Tsering Chenaktsang (aka Jangbu), who is considered by many to be Tibet’s greatest living poet, will be joined by Anglo-Burman director and producer Lindsey Merrison, Tibetan Studies scholar Dr. Françoise Robin, and two Tibetan student filmmakers, Dondrup Dorje and Otto Wendekar, who will present their work to Canadian audiences for the first time.

Organized by the U of T’s Department for the Study of Religion, the event series is co-sponsored by the Jackman Humanities Institute, the Dr. David Chu Distinguished Leaders Program, the UTSC Tung Lin Kok Yuen Perspectives on Buddhist Thought and Culture Program, the Asian Institute, the East Asia Group, the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, the Cinema Studies Institute, Open Scholarship, and the Religion in the Public Sphere Initiative.

For more information, see http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/new-voices-new-visions/ or contact Frances Garret, frances.garrett@utoronto.ca

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