Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America had its big screen premiere at the Strand Theater in Plattsburgh last night.
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:
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
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.
Arts in Exile airs tonight at 8, on Mountain Lake PBS.