Upcoming Shows

We've been named as a official selection in the Southern Circuit of Filmmakers Tour, March 17-24.

Shows are in Hapeville, GA 3/17, Madison, GA 3/20, Orangeburg, SC 3/22, Gainsville, GA 3/23, and Manteo, NC 3/24.
Learn more by going to the SouthArts blog.

View the theatrical trailer for A Gift for the Village

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Still in Kagbeni... READ THIS ONE SAYS TOM!

July 10th. Still in Kagbeni, and still spending the rupees like chaff in the wind, to post from here! Jane again, speaking for Jenna and Sherrie and Jason on a fine and as-usual gale-force sunny afternoon at the crux of the Kali-Gandaki and Jhong Rivers out here in Mustang. We have just had one of our most intense filming days. At 8 a.m. we were all out, Jason in a Tibetan man's chest-crossed long blue tunic, and Sherrie, Jenna, and I all dressed again in Tibetan women's clothing, courtesy of our friend here, Pema Dhoka, whose mother-in-law owns the Red House lodge. The local people all nodded approval rather than scoffed at our trying this clothing, so it felt good to seem to be respectful for the lama's arrival, which happened only about two hours later than we had expected. In these two hours, we observed this village's many preparations--tables set out along the crooked road with copper pots brimming with black hollyhocks and magenta dahlias, bowls of barley grains holding up incense sticks, Buddhist flags--and climbed to the heliocopter landing spot, a rare flat space on a mountain above town, and waited, with local children, some policemen, and many Buddhist lamas. By now, we know a few people in every crowd, who recognize us as the people from the Jomsom festival, or as Tsampa's friends, and we get many friendly nods and wags of the head. A good friend here gave Sherrie a ride up to the landing pad on his motorcycle, which gives you some idea of how at home we are feeling.

The lama's heliocopter had to come from Kathmandu, and then had to pass us and go beyond us, up-valley, to Lo, where the lama was waiting. Half and hour later, the heliocopter returned. I think none of us had ever had a heliocopter land just yards from us, and we all squatted and faced aways from the wave of grit that hot our backs. But then we were standing, and welcomed, as westerners, to photograph and to shoot video footage right up front, with absolutely no distance or reserve. The lama who emerged is one of the Sakya Buddhist sect's three head lamas (there are four main Buddhist sects, so think of this man as one of the higest twelve lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist world). His name is Ngor Ludhing Khen Rinpoche. The entire town was out to greet him, and no National Geographic or other documentary I have ever seen compared to what we saw first-hand today. Jenna is solar-charging one of her batteries now--I can not begin to tell you where she stood and what as a videographer she had access to, this morning; and Sherrie is looking through her prize photographs, some of which are among the best photographs I have ever seen.

For our team, this day will stand as a magnificent example of how hungry people are for ethics, morality, and wise teachings about compassion in exile, to use the filmmaker Mickey Lemle's words. This is 2007, but every aspect of Tibetan Buddhist culture was alive and vibrant today in Kagbeni. When the lama ducked out of the heliocopter, he was extremely cheered to see us--westerners--I think because he knows that our work will in some ways, tomorrow, reach a vaster audience than his beautiful chanting will, today. The burning juniper branches, the lamas with walking beside him with a huge golden parasol to cover his way, the ornamental flag-bearers, the cymbal-players, the seashell-horn-blowers, the children presenting flowers, the women singing to greet him, and the village walking behind him to the 500-year-old adobe monastery--all so beautiful and out-of-time.

Not by coincidence do the types of books left behind by other travelers in these parts include such titles as what I picked up today and have begin re-reading (this is an old classic that I once read aloud to Iris, in her childhood): Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World, about a surly, passionate, and irascible professor who claims to have seen pterydactyls upriver from the Amazon, and who claims to know about a plateau beyond contemporary imagination. Sherrie and Jason and Jenna and I are in a village that is in some ways a lost world, but in more ways, if our work succeeds, will be a world better re-discovered. I am so proud to be working with my team, and so happy that our path keeps getting crossed by amazing sights and adventures and people. Tashi Deleg, and we hope all of you are well.


Anonymous said...

Jane, How can those of us who have been following your blog ever thank you, Jenna and the others for this wonderful window into another time and place? The descriptions are beautifully written and so lyrical-I have enjoyed your journey vicariously through the blog and am ever so thankful to all of you. I hope your remaining journies are safe and as memorable as the ones so far-can't wait to catch up with you when you return to our little village here in SWVA! Suzan

giftforthevillage said...

Guys, I'm so happy to read of your latest adventure, and by extension, mine. The day sounds astounding, and I hope you got some good pictures of Jason in that outfit.
Jenna and Jason, I talked to your mom today and she was glad to hear you were doing so well.

Jenna, I'm so glad you have that solar charger (thanks Sherrie!) and I can't wait to see how your experience in Upper Mustang shifts the tone and content of our project.

I gave my notice at work today, and Linda was most kind about it, as I guess I knew she would be. I'm looking forward to my new job, and looking forward to seeing you all in 3 weeks or so.

Tashi Daleg!

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