Director of The Cup Lands New Film at Key International Festivals

[film poster with hema hema in red type, sing me a song while I wait in white type, over an image of five masked men, some with bow and arrow, some with musical instruments, in a sunlit forest]Hema Hema: Sing Me A Song While I Wait, the new film from Khyentse Norbu, had its World Premiere at the prestigious Locarno (Switzerland) Film Festival, its North American Premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (where it was awarded Special Mention in the Platforms Prize), and is now an official selection at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (South Korea), and the Buddhist Film Festival Europe (Amsterdam).

Norbu, a leading Tibetan Buddhist teacher from Bhutan who is widely known as Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, was a consultant and actor for Bertolucci’s film Little Buddha in 1993, and went on to write and direct his debut feature, The Cup (a Festival Media DVD) in 1999. He followed with 2003’s Travellers & Magicians (US Premiere at IBFF 2003 LOS ANGELES) and Vara: A Blessing, in 2013.

The new film was shot on location in rural Bhutan, and stars Thinley Dorji, Tshering Dorji and Sadon Lhamo. Noted still photographer Pawo Choyning Dorji and Sarah Chen are the producers, and the cinematographer was Jigme Tenzing. Most of the actors perform wearing beautiful masks throughout the film. Early comments from viewers indicate this is a very original work: strange, unpredictable, dreamlike.

Uniquely among his films, this project was funded via a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly $150,000 from over 800 backers around the world. Film veteran Jeremy Thomas, the executive producer (and well known as Bernardo Bertolucci’s producer), said in Locarno, “He…has enormous film knowledge; the story that he’s telling in this film has a credibility to it, because of his telling the story. It’s the start of a man’s [spiritual] journey to act the way you would act if you had no identity.”

US screenings will be announced here as soon as they are determined.


Bhutan Broadcasting Service interview