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.

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