The Next Guardian, a Story of Changing Times

Email

The Next Guardian will compete against 14 others in the category of IDFA Competition for First Appearance. The documentaries in this category will compete for two awards – IDFA Award for Best First Appearance and IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance.

The Next Guardian, a documentary co-directed by former BBS producer Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó of Hungary. (Source: http://www.kuenselonline.com)

 

The Next Guardian, a documentary co-directed by former BBS producer Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó of Hungary will compete in the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in Netherlands in November.

The documentary will be screened four times between November 15th and 22nd at the festival.

The Next Guardian will compete against 14 others in the category of IDFA Competition for First Appearance. The documentaries in this category will compete for two awards – IDFA Award for Best First Appearance and IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance.

The 72 minutes documentary produced at the cost of about Nu 4,000,000 was completed in September.

A Bhutanese story for an international audience

Arun Bhattarai said that he is delighted to have the film screened at IDFA, an influential documentary film festival in the world. “It is a big platform to show a Bhutanese story to an international audience attended by film producers, directors and documentary film enthusiasts.”

Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó are graduates from DocNomads Joint Masters in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels. They worked together on many documentary projects on topics such as adolescence, migration and multiculturalism. “Our different cultural backgrounds helped us approach these subjects with more sensitivity.”

Arun Bhattarai said that Bhutan is a country in transition and that the younger generation today are growing up with completely different dreams. “A documentary film can be a mirror to our society without being judgmental and saying what is right or what is wrong.  As a film maker I am working to reflect the dreams and aspirations of young Bhutanese in my film.”

The film explores the clash of dreams of two generations in an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bumthang when Gyembo, an ordinary teenager, is chosen as the next guardian of the family monastery by his father. The film brings to the fore the irony of two generations with contrasting dreams.

Arun Bhattarai said that the story of the family living in the monastery gave possibilities to talk about more universal issues such as family, generation conflict, father-son relationship and identity in our society.

Inspiration for the film

The directors first got to know Tashi, the youngest daughter of the family who was participating in the selection camp for under 14 girls’ national football team in 2015. “I met Tashi at the girls’ football academy in Gelephu. Later, when we went to visit her family in Bumthang we discovered that there was a bigger story there,” Arun Bhattarai said.

He said that when they heard Tashi’s father refer to her as ‘he’ they felt they had found something special. “We found a family in a traditional part of the world that is trying to find ways to understand the changing sexuality of their child, with love and acceptance through their Buddhist interpretation of life.”

However, he said that in contrast to this acceptance, they found that there is a much bigger conflict inside the family related to the inheritance of the monastery and family heritage. “That is why we decided to put the inheritance of the monastery at the centre of our story that represents the microcosm of a culture on the verge of change,” he added.

“Through the personal journey of the siblings it becomes a modern tale of a forgotten part of the globe that you can rarely find in our uniformalised and globalised world.”

Arun Bhattarai said that the project was difficult because it was a long-term observational film that was made with minimum interference. “It took a lot of time and patience to build my relationship with my characters and also to understand their dreams and worries so that I could build a story that was as close to their reality as possible.”

Plans for the film after the festival

Arun Bhattarai said that after the film has completed its festival circle, he will use it as a self-reflexive tool for youths and their families in re-thinking their existing values and societal norms.

“I want to travel with my film to remote communities in Bhutan and involve them in talking about the themes in the film and have open discussions amidst audiences made up of varying generations.”

The production of the film was supported by the Creative Europe Media Fund, the IDFA Bertha Fund and Ford Foundation. It has also won funding support at several international pitching forums.

 

By Karma Cheki (This article has been edited for the Daily Bhutan)

This article first appeared on Kuensel. 


Related Posts

Nge Tsawai Lama, a story of hope, aspiration and hard work

‘Nge Tsawai Lama’ is literally translated as ‘My Root Guru’. It is a story about how Gyem Dorji, who plays Lopen Pema,...

Oct 04, 2017 09:17

Bhutan’s Six Important Cultural Sites

The 6 sites are namely Buli village in Zhemgang, Ramtoe in Samtse, Ura Doshi in Bumthang, Nabji in Trongsa, Gangtey and...

Oct 27, 2017 08:37

Traditional Process of Dyeing Woollen Yarns at Risk of Dying Out

The traditional method of dyeing woollen yarns to weave Yathra in Bumthang is hardly practiced today. Yathra weaving is...

Oct 13, 2017 06:44

Preserving Bhutan’s Music and Traditions

“Bhutan is developing at a faster pace; traditional customs are not. We need to balance these developments. We are...

Sep 28, 2017 11:28

Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a...

Oct 06, 2017 18:29

Fined for Refusing to Participate in a Village Festival

Sherab Dema, the daughter of the-once Dropon (lead dancer), was fined Nu 100,000 in Sept 2017 for refusing to...

Oct 11, 2017 07:58

Latest

News

Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World

The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.

Oct 14, 2019 20:28

Bhutan To Be First Country To Achieve Universal Health Coverage: Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering

The ultimate objective is to provide access to health care for all people.

Sep 29, 2019 00:28

Features

Patra – Bhutanese Art Of Wood Carving

Patra carvings can be found in the production of books, images, architectural designs, furniture and many other wooden artefacts.

Oct 10, 2019 10:18

Bhutan's Waste Recycling Plant - Greener Way Creates Value Out Of Plastic Waste

Through the modification of plastic waste by using better recycling strategies, the firm produces plastic poles for socio-economic and...

Oct 07, 2019 11:44

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38

Bhutan’s Himalayan Food Aims To Produce Healthy Snacks With A Worldwide Reach

Himalayan Food currently produces potato chips, apple chips and banana chips.

Sep 25, 2019 23:58

Travel

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng, Eastern Bhutan

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Thimphu Tshechu And What It means To The Bhutanese

The Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival in Bhutan, among other religious tshechus that happen in every district.

Oct 08, 2019 23:58

Lifestyle

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!