Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Arts in Exile celebrates its EMMY nomination!

Director of Photography Daniel McCullum, producer Paul Larson and editor Michael Hansen

The documentary Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America will compete against six other programs this June, vying for the title of "Outstanding Documentary" at the Boston/New England Regional Emmy Awards ceremony.  The selected programs were announced last night at a nomination party in Boston.

Arts in Exile chronicles the creation of the Tibetan arts festival held last fall in Plattsburgh, New York, exploring how the city in northern New York was inspired by, and connected to the culture of Tibet from across the globe.  The documentary examines how several Tibetan refugees use the arts to raise awareness about the global problems they face and keep their culture alive.

The program features insight from Tibet House President Dr. Robert Thurman, and the talents of photographer Sonam Zoksang, freedom singer Techung, thangka painter Tsering Phuntsok, monks Lobsang Dorjee and Yeshi Dorjee, wood carver Tashi Dholak and many other visual artists and performers.

“This project was a huge undertaking for this station. The documentary was just one part of a much larger initiative that engaged the community on many levels, from a 10-foot tile mural installed in downtown Plattsburgh to a multi-week festival of exhibitions and performances. This nomination honors not only Mountain Lake PBS, but everyone involved in this community project,” said Erik Nycklemoe, President & CEO of Mountain Lake PBS.

“The team here at Mountain Lake PBS works diligently to bring the unique stories of our region to the wider world, and we’re proud to be recognized for doing it well,” said Bill McColgan, Director of Production and Content at Mountain Lake PBS.

Arts in Exile producer Paul Larson took home a regional Emmy for his 2013 documentary Songs to Keep:  Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, which included the talents of videographer Daniel McCullum. McCullum and editor Michael C. Hansen collaborated with Larson on Arts in Exile, and were previously honored with a regional Emmy nomination for the documentary On Home Ground, produced by Tomeka Weatherspoon.

Mountain Lake PBS will celebrate its current Emmy nomination with five airings of Arts in Exile, beginning on Sunday, May 1 at 7pm.  Other airings follow on Monday, May 2 at 10pm, Tuesday, May 3 at 3am, Wednesday, May 4 at noon, and Thursday, May 5 at 4am. 

"I hope people who haven't seen the program before will get the chance to enjoy it in May," Larson said.  "We aimed to make an entertaining documentary, while highlighting creative ways people are spreading awareness about the issues Tibetans face overseas and in our own country."

The documentary is one component of the 2015 Festival of Tibetan Arts & Culture of the Adirondack Coast.  The festival, organized in part by restaurant owners Tenzin and Yangchen Dorjee and SUNY Anthropology Professor Amy Mountcastle, included performances by the Adirondack Youth Orchestra, an exhibition at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the creation of a tile mural led by artist Sue Burdick Young and the Plattsburgh Renewal Project with support from the Strand Center for the Arts. This festival was funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 39th Boston/New England Regional Emmy Awards Ceremony takes place Saturday, June 4 in Boston.

More information about Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America  -

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Share some SONGS TO KEEP with your Valentine!

This Valentine's Day, share some Adirondack treasures with your treasured one. Mountain Lake PBS will air its love letter to the Adirondacks, Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, this Sunday at 11am. 

The program focuses on the passion one Adirondack historian had for the folk songs of her beautiful region.  Journalist Marjorie Lansing Porter recorded folk songs from the aging population who knew them, saving them from disappearing forever.

Contemporary singers including Alex Smith, the Bacon Brothers, Sue Grimm Hanley and Jamie Savage still enjoy performing songs that were popular a century ago. 

Folk legend Pete Seeger recorded an album of Porter's collection, and producer Paul Larson conducted the final television interview with the singer for this regional Emmy award-winning documentary. 

You may learn more about the Songs to Keep project in the current issue of Voices, the Journal of New York Folklore.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Arts in Exile:  Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America had its big screen premiere at the Strand Theater in Plattsburgh last night.

More than 200 people attended the screening.  It was a pleasure to see our production assistant Evan Clarke, back from India, who gifted me with a beautiful Tibetan Thangka Painting.

     Our partners in the project joined me on stage afterwards for a question and answer session with the audience.  Restaurant owner Yangchen Dorjee, describing the screening, said "I have no words to express my gratitude."  The documentary tells the story of her peaceful activism, using an arts festival as a way to bring the Tibetan cause to a new audience in Plattsburgh.
     Director of Photography Daniel McCullum, Editor Michael Hansen and I received a lot of positive feedback from those in the audience last night.
     Here's an e-mail that I found very touching from tile mural designer Sue Burdick Young:

Dear Paul,
          I was so moved by the premiere of your documentary last night.  You showcased the art and culture of Tibet so well and went deep into the plight of their country.  I can relate to what a daunting task it was to put this documentary together.  It was just a year ago that I started to research the Tibetan decorative style and was overwhelmed by the depth of meaning that every element and motif symbolized.  It made for a very challenging task to extrapolate this into a community art project.
          All of the interviews you put together really put a face on this plight.  I didn't know all of Yangchen's story, her passion and dedication to the Tibetan people is inspiring.  Amy's statement in the film comparing the Tibetan exile and occupation to what happened to the native Americans in this country 200 years ago really drove home the gravity of what is at stake here.  I've been watching the Ken Burns documentary series about the West and have been horrified by the genocide that took place.  Some of those tribes are lost forever, whole cultures wiped out.  The awareness that your documentary will bring to what is going on in Tibet will help keep this culture alive.
          One of the last questions to the panel last night was "What can people do to help the Tibetans?"  My response to that would be to show this documentary to everyone you know.  If you're from other areas of this country urge your hometown PBS to show this documentary.
          I so hope this will go viral and will do what I can to spread the word.  Also I have to say the title "Arts in Exile" is brilliant.
          Congratulations on a masterpiece that will hopefully resonate globally. 

Most Sincerely,
Sue Young

     Arts in Exile airs tonight at 8, on Mountain Lake PBS.