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

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