Projecting Buddha at YBCA in SF

In conjunction with the exhibition The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama, the International Buddhist Film Festival with YBCA presents a program of films from around the world that explore fear and liberation, confusion and compassion.

Projecting Buddha will run from February 14–March 6, 2008.

Thursday, February 14, 7:30 pm
In Search of Kundun
Director: Michael Wilson
USA / 1997 / 85 min

The making of Martin Scorsese’s 1997 film Kundun was an historic event, the first feature film treatment of the life of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Michael Wilson documented this emotion-filled encounter of Scorsese and his Italian and American team with the Tibetans who portrayed the key figures in the tumultuous recent history of Tibet. Features compelling interviews with Scorsese, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and screenwriter Melissa Mathison; filmed on location in Morocco and India. Rarely screened 35mm print. Q&A with director following the screening.

Sunday, February 17, 2:00 pm
Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy
Director: Ellen Bruno
USA / 2000 / 28 min

In a deeply personal and lyrical style, Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy presents the testimony of Tibetan Buddhist nuns who have survived imprisonment and torture for speaking out against the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Q&A with director and activist Ellen Bruno following the screening.
Daughters of Wisdom
Director: Bari Pearlman
USA / 2007 / 68 min

This is an intimate portrait of the nuns of Kala Rongo Monastery in Nangchen, Tibet, at the edge of the eastern Tibetan plateau, 14,000 feet above sea level. Three hundred nuns are playing an unprecedented role there in preserving their rich cultural heritage even as they slowly reshape it—a never-before-seen glimpse into a vibrant spiritual community, built and maintained by the women who study and practice there.

Thursday, February 21, 7:30 pm
Roots of Infinity
Director: Ken’ichi Oguri
Japan / 1991 / 85 min

Nearly twenty years ago, director Ken’ichi Oguri spent over a year making this remarkable documentary of a Tibetan village in Nepal. With indelible images of the full cycle of life in a traditional Buddhist community—birth, marriage, livelihood, religion and death—this film offers an intimate view of a world that no longer exists anywhere, as modernity and dislocation take their toll. Shot on 16mm and projected from a pristine print.

Sunday, February 24, 2:00 pm
Compassion In Exile
Director: Mickey Lemle
USA / 1991 / 62 min

Filmed on location in India, Compassion In Exile is Mickey Lemle’s masterful portrait of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, shot by noted cinematographer Buddy Squires, released eight years before Kundun, and broadcast on PBS. Includes rare archival footage from Tibet, and interviews with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, his brother and sister, Robert Thurman and Heinrich Harrar (author of Seven Years in Tibet).
King of the Hill: Won’t You Pimai Neighbor episode
Writers/Producers: John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky
USA / 2000 / 22 min

The nickname for this episode of the long running hit animated FOX television series King of the Hill is “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Buddha,” and we learn more about Buddhism in this 22 minute piece than in many a full length feature work. This is a skillful and sweetly funny send-up of the Kundun story of the identification of the infant Dalai Lama.

Thursday, February 28, 7:30 pm
Meditate and Destroy
Director: Sarah Fisher
USA / 2007 / 80 min

Author Noah Levine (Dharma Punx, Against the Stream) uses his personal experience and punk-rock sensibilities to connect with young people within juvenile halls and urban centers around the country. Meditate and Destroy provides an intimate and dynamic portrait of this unconventional Buddhist teacher and counselor. Q&A with director Sarah Fisher following screening.
What About Me?
Director: Gesar Mukpo
USA/Canada / 2006, 5 min

What About Me? is an original music video directed by Gesar Mukpo, with a Buddhist insight from Tibetan teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, his brother; both are recognized Tibetan tulkus (incarnate lamas) and sons of the late Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Sunday, March 2, 2:00 pm
Peace Is Every Step
Director: Gaetano Kazuo Maida
USA / 1997 / 52 min

This portrait of Vietnamese Zen teacher, author and activist Thich Nhat Hanh explores his efforts to heal the wounds of war among war and peace veterans and survivors. Filmed on location around the US and at his Plum Village center in France, Peace Is Every Step includes rare archival footage from Vietnam produced by him in the 1960s for his School of Youth for Social Service. Narrated by Academy Award®-winner Ben Kingsley. Q&A with director Gaetano Kazuo Maida following screening.
The Anniversary
Director: Ham Tran
USA / 2003 / 28 min

The Anniversary is a short dramatic work from Vietnamese-American director Ham Tran (Journey From the Fall). Beautifully shot by Before Night Falls cinematographer Guillermo Rosas, the film offers a metaphoric vision of child‘s play, war, and forgiveness for victors and victims alike.

Thursday, March 6, 7:30 pm
Nine Poems in Basilicata
Director: Antonello Faretta
Italy / 2007 / 56 min

John Giorno is a provocative and passionate poet-performer long associated with a New York-based art scene of musicians and artists that has included William Burroughs, Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith and Allen Ginsberg. This new film captures him in his ancestral home in Italy, performing poems that deeply connect to the heart themes of Buddhism: yearning, compassion, despair and inspiration.
Inside the Cup
Director: Isaiah Seret
USA/Canada / 2007 / 22 min

Khyentse Norbu is a renowned Tibetan Buddhist teacher. He also makes movies. His first two films, The Cup and Travellers & Magicians, were critical and box office successes. Inside The Cup explores the making of his first feature, about soccer-obsessed Tibetan monks, and offers a provocative case for a Buddhist philosophy of “life as cinema.” (adapted from Life As Cinema, by Anika Tokarchuk)

Tickets can be purchased directly from YBCA.