IBFF Showcase 2013 SF Bay Area Opens March 1

To celebrate the 10th anniversary season of the International Buddhist Film Festival, we return to the Bay Area for IBFF Showcase 2013.

Buddhist Film Foundation and California Film Institute present nine premieres from seven countries—rare screenings, global diversity, and guest filmmakers and presenters. The program runs from Friday, March 1 to Sunday, March 3 at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center in Marin.

The celebration continues the following week in San Francisco on Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10, when Buddhist Film Foundation and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts present four films from or about Japan, with guest filmmakers both days.

Download a PDF of the program.

WHEN & WHERE

Friday, March 1 to Sunday, March 3 at Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, Marin
Saturday, March 9 to Sunday, March 10 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

CHRISTOPHER B. SMITH RAFAEL FILM CENTER SCHEDULE

Tickets may be purchased through the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center.
Ticket prices for each program: $12 general, $10 seniors, $8 for CFI members.
Please note that Rafael passes and matinee prices are not applicable for these programs.

When the Iron Bird Flies
Directed by Victress Hitchcock
USA / 2012 / English / 96 min plus discussion / Documentary
WEST COAST PREMIERE
Friday, March 1, 7:00 pm
In Person: Director Victress Hitchcock and special guest Anam Thubten

[seated female student is greeted in gasho by seated Anam Thubten in light filled room]In 1959 a great migration from Tibet was violently set in motion. The Dalai Lama was joined in exile by thousands of refugees, among them important Tibetan Buddhist teachers, opening a window on what had been a hidden realm. Interviews and rare archival footage offer an insider’s view of Tibetan Buddhism made manifest beyond its original home.

Trailer


Olo, The Boy From Tibet
Directed by Hisaya Iwasa
Japan / 2012 / Japanese and Tibetan with English subtitles / 108 min / Documentary
US PREMIERE
Saturday, March 2, 1:30 pm

[young Tibetan boy and old Tibetan woman smile and press foreheads in greeting]Six-year-old Olo is sent from Tibet to India by his mother to get an education. Now a student at the famed Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala (founded by Jetsun Pema, sister of the Dalai Lama), he has to make his way in a world quite different from his own. Director Hisaya Iwasa takes a creative and intimate approach to this true story.

Trailer


Karma
Directed by Tsering Sherpa
Nepal / 2006 / Tibetan with English subtitles / 90 min / Dramatic Feature
US PREMIERE
Saturday, March 2, 4:00 pm

[joyful young nun extends arms overhead as her wrap blows in the wind]In a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery a revered abbess dies. Prayers and rituals must be performed, but there’s no money, so one of the nuns, Karma, must journey to find the man who may owe a debt. Filmed in the remote Himalayan region of Mustang, we follow Karma to Kathmandu, where she discovers that many things are not what she thought.


Digital Dharma
Directed by Dafna Yachin
USA / 2012 / English / 90 min plus discussion / Documentary
WEST COAST PREMIERE
Saturday, March 2, 6:15 pm
In Person: Director Dafna Yachin
Sponsored by Sharon and Jeff Roe

[seated Gene Smith listening to man in front of computer monitor with two men looking on]E. Gene Smith was amazing—a Mormon, a pacifist and a Buddhist who, against all odds, managed to organize the successful mission to rescue the written legacy of the Tibetan culture from destruction and loss. The film documents his epic efforts toward an ongoing project to preserve, digitize and translate 20,000 volumes of Tibetan literature, from medicine and history to poetry and Buddhist texts.

Trailer


Mindfulness and Murder
Directed by Tom Waller
Thailand / 2011 / Thai with English subtitles / 90 min / Dramatic Feature
US PREMIERE
Saturday, March 2, 8:45 pm

[wearing gold colored robes, a younger Thai monk bows to a senior monk]Thai-English Director Tom Waller takes on one of the popular Father Ananda mysteries. Former cop Ananda is now a senior monk and is asked by the abbot to solve a murder inside his monastery because the police don’t want to get involved. Not everything in the monastery is what it should be…

Trailer


The Great Pilgrim
Directed by Jin Tiemu
China / 2009 / Mandarin with English subtitles / 98 min / Docudrama
US PREMIERE
Sunday, March 3, 1:30 pm

[man walks desert with pack animal as sun blazes from behind]One of the most celebrated journeys in history is that of Tang dynasty Chinese monk Xuanzang, who traveled to India and brought back essential Buddhist texts and teachings. This compelling film uses reenactments, stunning locations and animation to introduce a truly legendary figure (the inspiration for the many Journey to the West and Monkey stories and films).


The Mourning Forest (Mogari no Mori)
Directed by Naomi Kawase
Japan, France / 2007 / Japanese with English subtitles / 97 min / Dramatic Feature
BAY AREA PREMIERE
Sunday, March 3, 4:00 pm

[leaning on a tree trunk, a Japanese woman's face gazes at her hand clasping a man's hand]Set in tea country near Kyoto, Japan, this Cannes Grand Prix award-winner is a masterful meditation on loss and love and happiness…on what it is to be alive. Intimately directed by prolific artist/filmmaker Naomi Kawase with astonishing, vivid, nearly wordless performances. And the bright Buddhist priest doesn’t get the last word. “There are no formal rules…”

Trailer


KanZeOn
Directed by Neil Cantwell and Tim Grabham
UK, Japan / 2011 / Japanese with English subtitles / 86 min plus discussion / Documentary
WEST COAST PREMIERE
Sunday, March 3, 6:15 pm
In Person: Co-Director Neil Cantwell

Japanese man vocalizes while holding instrument tied with red cordA mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed on location in Japan, with a variety of cinematic techniques. Kanzeon is another way of saying Kannon (in Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”

Trailer


Thangka
Directed by Hasi Chaolu
China / 2011 / Mandarin and Tibetan with English subtitles / 112 min / Dramatic Feature
US PREMIERE
Sunday, March 3, 8:45 pm

[young man holding pottery looks towards older man with glasses and hat and hand extending to touch pottery]In this surprising and fresh feature from China, a Tibetan thangka painting master needs to identify his successor from among his students, his talented son, or the possible reincarnation of his own teacher. Tradition, family, talent and difference are all colorfully explored with compassion and humor. Beautifully filmed on location in Tibet.


YERBA BUENA CENTER FOR THE ARTS SCHEDULE

Tickets may be purchased through Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Ticket prices per screening: $10 regular, $8 YBCA members, students, seniors, teachers
FREE for YBCA:You
Four-film pass: $25 regular, $20 YBCA members. Get film pass.

KanZeOn
Directed by Neil Cantwell and Tim Grabham
UK, Japan / 2011 / Japanese with English subtitles / 86 min plus discussion / Documentary
BAY AREA PREMIERE
Saturday, March 9, 2:00 pm
In Person: Co-Director Neil Cantwell

Japanese man vocalizes while holding instrument tied with red cordA mysterious and engaging journey through sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed on location in Japan, with a variety of cinematic techniques. Kanzeon is another way of saying Kannon (in Chinese: Kuanyin), the embodiment of compassion, and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.”

Trailer


The Mourning Forest (Mogari no Mori)
Directed by Naomi Kawase
Japan, France / 2007 / Japanese with English subtitles / 97 min / Dramatic Feature
BAY AREA PREMIERE
Saturday, March 9, 4:00 pm

[leaning on a tree trunk, a Japanese woman's face gazes at her hand clasping a man's hand]Set in tea country near Kyoto, Japan, this Cannes Grand Prix award-winner is a masterful meditation on loss and love and happiness…on what it is to be alive. Intimately directed by prolific artist/filmmaker Naomi Kawase with astonishing, vivid, nearly wordless performances. And the bright Buddhist priest doesn’t get the last word. “There are no formal rules…”

Trailer


Olo, The Boy From Tibet
Directed by Hisaya Iwasa
Japan / 2012 / Japanese and Tibetan with English subtitles / 108 min / Documentary
US PREMIERE
Sunday, March 10, 2:00 pm

[young Tibetan boy and old Tibetan woman smile and press foreheads in greeting]Six-year-old Olo is sent from Tibet to India by his mother to get an education. Now a student at the famed Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala (founded by Jetsun Pema, sister of the Dalai Lama), he has to make his way in a world quite different from his own. Director Hisaya Iwasa takes a creative and intimate approach to this true story.

Trailer


Tokyo Waka
Directed by John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
Japan, USA / 2011 / English and Japanese with English subtitles / 63 min plus discussion / Documentary
In Person: Directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
Sunday, March 10, 4:00 pm

[a black crow stands amidst headstones in a Tokyo cemetery]A poem in images: stillness, patterns, urban motion; and words: a tofu seller, a homeless woman, a Buddhist priest… contemplating nature, the metabolism of the city, mortality. And 20,000 crows (waka), unruly avatars of the natural world, sardonically observe it all. This film explores the uneasy relationship between the people of Tokyo and its huge population of crows, and touches on nature, art, and culture in the most modern city in Japan.

Trailer