Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bhutan: Taking the middle Path to Happiness, wins Emmy


Producer Tom Vendetti (right) and composer-associate producer Christopher Hedge were in San Francisco on Saturday.
While there, they won Emmy Awards for their documentary “Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness.”

Maui video producer Tom Vendetti and associate producer/composer Christopher Hedge have brought home Emmy Awards in two categories for the documentary "Bhutan: Taking The Middle Path to Happiness."

Vendetti and Hedge each won Emmys for their collaboration in the historic/cultural program/special category, and Hedge's score won the musical composition/arrangement prize in the 39th annual Northern California Area Emmy Awards presented Saturday night at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis.

"There's an intense amount of anticipation waiting for the announcement, but when the award was announced, all this weight went off my shoulders," an exhilarated Vendetti said Monday morning after returning to Maui. "When I was at the podium, I felt relaxed and a tremendous relief compared to a minute earlier."

Working with fellow video artists Robert C. Stone and John Wehrheim, Vendetti and Hedge made the Bhutan film in 2005 and released it in 2007. It visits the remote Himalayan country, located between India and China, showing not only Bhutan's robust people and dramatic beauty but its culture's unique concept of "gross national happiness."

Since 1972, Bhutan's government has sought ways of balancing environmental protection and preservation and the psychological well-being of its people against the pressures of economic development.

"I believe there's a lot of wisdom to be found around the world," Vendetti said of the film's theme. "The concept of gross national happiness is extremely important."

It entails protecting the environment, transparency in government, protecting culture, "and then having economic stability," he said. "It's essentially taking the middle path as the world is embracing globalization and materialism."

The production has been distributed nationally on PBS and has been seen around the world at various film festivals, he said.

Vendetti also collaborated with producer Wehrheim and director Stone on "Taylor Camp," a documentary about a unique commune that sprang up on the island of Kauai in 1969, that will screen at 7 p.m. June 2 in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Meanwhile, young filmmaker Kara Henderson and Ma Ka Hana Ka 'Ike have won the "Best of GoodTube" award from "Profiles in Caring," a television show that has won four Emmy Awards and is broadcast on more than 100 stations in the U.S. and globally.

Henderson's contribution to the program was a nonprofit video documentary that chronicles the Hana program for at-risk students to change their lives by participating in building projects that develop and improve facilities in the area. This spring, students have been installing renewable energy systems in Hana homes.

Henderson is a former student in the program who just completed her bachelor's degree in media arts from Brigham Young University and has two documentary films in progress.

"By connecting youth with their community and focusing on sustainable directions, Ma Ka Hana Ka 'Ike is helping create future leaders like Kara Henderson for our islands," said Rick Ruiz, the organization's founder and executive director.

The award-winning segment for "Profiles in Caring" can be viewed online at

* Rick Chatenever can be reached at

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shh.. Galuya Malab

Source: Facebook Page

By: Dorji Wangchuk

I went for the premiere of a new movie – Shh.. Galuya Malab. It is another movie by my friend Tshering Wangyel with Tsokye Tshomo Karchung in the lead and also executive producing it. Knowing both Wangyel and Tsokye, I had a huge expectation from the film. Especially with Tsokye’s sensitivity to social issues we face in this country.
The film tells the story of Deki (played by Tsokye) - a successful career woman but who contracts the deadly virus. Tshering Phuntsho plays her arranged fiancée Tshering who accidentally infects her. Her career and her life come to a halt only to be rescued by her jobless and happy-go-lucky childhood friend Tobgay (played by Karma Chechung).
I must say, all in all, I was not disappointed. There was, of course, the “necessary” dose of commercialism in the first half, with disjointed sub-plots and dance numbers, that does not take the story forward. But I know without these, Wangyel tells me, the film won't sell. And understandably there is no use making a film people don't watch. The wonderful tweaks by Phurba Thinley and Gyem Dorji keep you going though.
But once the film moves beyond the turning point, every scene, every plot and even the song sequence is powerful enough to move the hall. Tsokye is brilliant in her role and Karma maintains his position as a versatile actor. Tsokye, Karma and Tshering Phuntsho together with other younger likes of Chencho Dorji and Tandin Bidha are whom I call the “young guns of the Bhutanese cinema.” Hopefully they would take our cinema to the next level. They are young, they are energetic and they are in the industry because they are passionate about films.
Shhh... Galuya Malab is a must-see. For one reason. It is brutally honest in depicting a major flaw in our character – the hypocritical behaviour of our society that is quick to act on ignorance rather than on sound reasoning or logic or on jampa dang ngingzhi (compassion and altruism) that we proclaim to have as Buddhists.
Film is a powerful mass medium that is also supposed to make you think, contemplate and discuss. This film did really make me think and my heart went out those who are really HIV+.
If I have to coin a one-liner for the film – "It is a movie with a meaning."
If you have never seen a Bhutanese film, start with this one!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Song of the Wind

Source: Facebook
Song of the wind - Coming soon
Release Date:
Clear Light Productions
Karma Choechong, Pabitra Rai, Choki, Karma Tshering, Lhamo Drukpa, 'Bombay' Tashi, Namgay Retty
Screenplay By:
Phuntsok Rabten
Directed By:
Palden Dorji & Phuntsok Rabten
Produced By:
Dasho ST, Rinzin Ongdra & Phuntsok Rabten
Plot Outline:

Tashi, a young engineer with a deep passion for music, is the front man in a contemporary band. As circumstances unfold, he is forced to meet Ap, a legend in traditional music who has renounced music to pursue the spiritual path. In their charged interactions, he gets more than he ever bargained for from Ap. It marks the evolution of a modern-day professional as he explores the deeper recesses of timeless themes through traditional music. The dynamics of traditional insights soon engulfs all aspects of his contemporary life: in his romance, his torn relationship with a father he has never met, a mother driven by practical concerns and his relationship with work and people. This is a modern-day story about change and evolution - that seeks to imbibe the essence of a timeless past into the dynamic present to propell it into a fresh future.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bhutan Film Awards 2010

Source: Sha Dha Semo is 2009’s best film |

9th National Film Awards10 May, 2010 - From the most experienced to the up and coming, and from the prominent to the first-timers, Bhutanese film directors, actors and technicians, all vying for the coveted national film awards, gathered at the YDF hall last Saturday.
A total of 18 films were listed for 29 awards for the 9th national film award.

Lhaki Dolma’s film Sha Dha Semo bagged 11 awards, including 2009’s best film.

Chencho Dorji won the best male lead of the year award for his role in Sha Dha Semo. He said he was elated to have won the award for two consecutive years.

Bhutanese favourite, Phurba Thinley, indisputably won the best comedian award for his role in the same film.

Kezang D Wangmo won the best female lead of the year for her role in Sem Gi Damtse. The film also won for best lyricist and playback singers, in both male and female categories, which went to Dechen Pem and Jigme Nidup.

Tshering Wangyel won the best director’s award for Sha Dha Semo. “I’m excited to have won the award after producing 24 movies in my career,” he said.

The best culture and best Dzongkha spoken film went to Chorten Kora II. It also won for best story, special effects and best art direction. Nguldrup Dorji won the negative role award and Namgay Retty won for best animation. The film also received Nu 50,000.

The money, sponsored by home ministry, were given to encourage filmmakers to come up with more culture-based films.

Sem Gi Dungyel took away two awards for the best make up and vivid Shacha for best newcomer.

Lhamo and Tshering Phuntsho took the best actors in supporting role for Seldrup and Hagonamey.

Tashi Gyeltshen wrote the best script for the film Sem Gi Jurwa, while Tashi Wangchuk took home the best child artist award for his role in Szchendhen.

Actors and singers from the Bhutanese film fraternity provided the much needed entertainment and break between every award. Fans’ favourite choreographer Karma Jerry stole the hearts of many, who cheered him as he performed a Dzongkha break dance along with his dance troupe.

Jury members reviewing the films, consisted of officials from media and information department and MPAB.

Awards were accompanied with Nu 5,000 each for every winner, which was sponsored by Bhutan Hyundai motors.

Department of information and media sponsored the film festival, which cost it about Nu 1M.

By Yangchen Choden Rinzin