The Next Guardian, a Story of Changing Times

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 Bhutan Times)

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

Bhutan Achieved 93% Youth Literacy Rate

93 percent of the students attend public schools, but the proportion of students attending public school decreases at higher education...

Jan 13, 2018 11:50

Japan Provides 353 More Power Tillers

The Ambassador of Japan to Bhutan, Kenji Hiramatsu handed over 353 sets of power tillers and accessories worth Nu 137 million to the...

Jan 11, 2018 14:18

Features

Green House Initiative Benefits Highlanders

“With the introduction of green houses in the region, it’s much more convenient and cost saving for us because we don’t have to purchase...

Jan 21, 2018 13:50

Accreditation Of Colleges in Bhutan

An institution is graded on six core elements such as the curriculum, research and innovation, institutional linkage, management,...

Jan 16, 2018 11:05

Sports

Air Pistol Shooting in Bhutan

“I saw the sport on television. I did not know that it would be an interesting experience. It helps us improve breathing and concentration....

Jan 14, 2018 10:44

Martial Arts Gaining Popularity with Bhutanese Youth

The President of BIMA, Damber Singh Rai, said that the programme is aimed at engaging students during the winter break. “It is an exercise...

Jan 06, 2018 08:58

Business

Fish Centre Needs More Trout Feed

Mr Singye Tshering said there is a high demand for fish in the country and it is important to promote the culture among people.

Jan 20, 2018 09:23

Farmers in Samtse Ready To Reap Quinoa

Farmers in Samtse are gearing up to harvest quinoa, a new crop which they started cultivating on a small scale as a pilot project last year.

Jan 18, 2018 07:18

Travel

Duenmang Tshachu – A Popular Hotspring Known for its Healing Properties

Gothpo, 76, who has visited the tshachu, said that the Kheng Duenmang tshachu is a renowned hot spring with 'great healing powers'.

Jan 19, 2018 11:17

Snow Leopards – Ghosts of the Mountains

Called “ghosts of the mountains” by the Himalayan people because of their ability to mysteriously appear and disappear with equal stealth,...

Jan 17, 2018 10:30

Lifestyle

Gyalsey, the Legacy of a Prince

In the 15 years of my life, the funniest yet saddest movie I have ever watched is Gyalsey, the legacy of a prince. Aired first in 2012, this...

Jan 09, 2018 07:10

Clove Bistro - Keeps You Coming Back!

The Clove has some amazing dishes, although the portions are not huge. This bistro makes a nice place to meet friends or to have a...

Dec 18, 2017 14:31

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!