INTRODUCTION

The popularity and interest of millions of people around the world in Tibet and their exiled leader, His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama continues even half a century after China invaded Tibet. Why are so many people interested in his story and what can we learn from his principles of love and compassion?

Fifty-eight years after China’s Most Wanted Man escaped from occupied Tibet, this powerful documentary film follows The Dalai Lama as he returns to the Tibetan borderlands for the first time to retrace his remarkable journey and escape into exile in 1959. Remarkably, this is the first time that the story will have ever been told on film!

One of the most significant moments of 20th Century history, this is the secret story of the Dalai Lama’s journey into exile. Told through exclusive access to the Dalai Lama and the previously unknown private diary of the Indian high official who led him to safety, Har Mandar Singh.

The Dalai Lama’s escape into India is a fascinating cultural and political story and has been a well-kept Indian family secret for well over 50 years, known only to the family and high ranking government officials who were close to the Dalai Lama.

Many people are aware that the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet and sought sanctuary in India, where he has remained ever since.

However, the precise details have never before been revealed. The Indian high official, Har Mandar Singh always felt this was a private personal story and one that didn’t warrant the prying eyes of the public. However, now retired and elderly he has decided to share this story in the hope that it will provide valuable insights into the life of one of the world’s most recognised spiritual and political leaders.

Telling the story on film will enable it’s relevance to be shared with modern audiences who may not have understood what the Dalai Lama went through nor the profound and peaceful principles that he still stands for today. In the film, Har Mandar Singh not only shares what happened, but also through his experiences and private diaries we will discover what it was like to live in close quarters with the Dalai Lama at that time as he did.

Featuring personal interviews with both Har Mandar Singh and the Dalai Lama himself, the film explores how the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet sparked one of the greatest stories of our time. As Tibetans descended from the high Himalayan Plateau to settle and gain asylum in countries across the world, especially in India, their refugee story highlights the importance of compassion amongst all peoples and nations.

Many Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, hope to peacefully return to Tibet one day and the film asks the question: what implicit lessons we can learn from their story? Told through interviews with those who were on this historic journey, the Dalai Lama, his younger brother, Tenzin Chogeyal, the Indian frontier Official, Har Mandar Singh and others, the film also includes insightful wisdom and life advice from the Dalai Lama himself about how to live a happier, more meaningful and fulfilling life.

The deep emotional and spiritual experience of the Indian Official, gained from spending three weeks together with the Dalai Lama is uncovered by Har Mandar Singh’s niece, BBC journalist and ex-EastEnders soap star Rani Singh, as she retraces their epic 3-week journey of 1959.

Along with the Dalai Lama, she revisits the Tibetan Border in the high Himalayan mountains and travels through ‘Tawang’, the 2nd Largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world traveling over the famous ‘Se La Pass’ to Har Mandar Singh’s house in Bomdila where he hosted the Dalai Lama all those years ago.

This culturally significant story offers insights into the importance of our shared worldwide humanity and reveals the incredible details of the Dalai Lama’s escape into exile.

Jean-Paul Mertinez

Series Producer

A graduate of the National Film & Television School, UK. Since graduating from the NFTS he’s been producing new feature film, television and live event projects that seek to explore the wonders of the natural world, ancient perspectives and cultural traditions. He’s worked with retired BBC Director Alan Ereira since the beginning of the ALUNA film, made with the secretive Indigenous Kogi Indians in Colombia. In 2016 he worked with the United Nations on the “Harmony with Nature” program that aims to align human activity with nature. The white paper produced by over 127 experts in diverse fields of environmental law, ecological economics, education, holistic science, humanities, philosophy/ethics, the arts, media, design and architecture, theology & spirituality became the keynote address in the September 2016 UN General Assembly and helped encourage the city of Mexico to adopt the Rights of Nature in their constitution in January 2017. Jean-Paul also produced the Migrate Charity Auction for Refugees with Christies (London) in October 2016 as a creative response to the Refugee Crisis. In 2016 he worked with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Grammy Nominated Gyuto Monks during their UK & Scotland “Pure Sound Tour”. This included their performances at the opening ceremony of Glastonbury Festival in front of an audience of around 100,000 people and recording the historic visit on film. He was also a lead venue project manager during the successful London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games in London.

Rani Singh

Writer/Presenter (Episode 1: An Officer and His Holiness)

Rani Singh is a senior reporter for the BBC as well as numerous other media organisations and platforms including Forbes, Sky News and Al Jazeera. She started her BBC career as an actor in EastEnders but soon realised that there was a wider world outside Albert Square that needed investigating. When she joined EastEnders as a regular character and Asian storyline advisor, the soap opera had audiences of 20 million viewers a week. Getting thrust into popular culture was a sharp learning curve. They were heady days: roughly one in four people might recognise her as a cast member whenever she stepped outside her front door. Her minimarket owner character Sufia Karim had lots of family problems, so viewers were sympathetic and often gave her unsolicited advice. Playing the part she became more aware of the media’s place in public life and discovered the power of working with a big audience.

Reporting for television, radio, print and online, Rani is also a producer and author. She breaks stories and digs deep to get the access denied to others. Rani regularly travels across South Asia to Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan on assignment. Her news reports have appeared on the BBC’s The World Tonight, Newshour, Newsnight and From Our Own Correspondent. She has originated, produced and presented documentaries for the BBC. Her portfolio of current affairs and factual reporting includes business, politics, religion and security. Rani’s exclusive stories include British “Facebook Terrorist” Runa Khan, Kashmir, Nepal’s Tibetan refugees, Bangladesh’s latest election, and an interview with its PM. She was the first reporter to gain access to Bangladesh’s UN commanders and peacekeeping troops. She recently interviewed the Dalai Lama over two sessions in India.

In addition to acting, Rani is a writer-presenter-producer; it’s a role that she loves. She started in television as a children’s presenter and writer, determined to work across as a many different media platforms and in as many areas as possible, until she discovered where she felt most fulfilled. Rani loved presenting “as live,” (recording the whole show in one take) on many programmes. Broadcasting on national television is a nerve-racking but invaluable experience and continuing drama series like EastEnders are fast-paced so you need to be word-perfect even for rehearsals. All great experiences from which she learnt a great deal about filmmaking and storytelling. When her on- screen EastEnders family was given a storyline break, she explored other areas at the BBC. It was on the Radio 4 Producer Training that she learnt about creating pictures in sound – that was a voyage of discovery. Fascinated by the medium, she originated documentaries and drama series. Apart from being rigorously trained in the detail of making programmes at the BBC.

 

Red Rock Entertainment

Executive Producers

Red Rock Entertainment is a UK based film finance company, located at the world famous Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, home to some of the biggest TV shows on British television and the studio of choice for many successful British films. Working in conjunction with a number of UK production companies to raise equity for film, TV programmes and film distribution, Red Rock Entertainment offer a number of tax efficient investment opportunities. Red Rock Entertainment primarily works on projects that are at an advanced stage and are looking for the final amount of financing. Our sole focus is on film and TV projects that have a commercial appeal, an identifiable audience, moderately low and controllable costs and a sound financial structure.

Red Rock Entertainment specialise in films. We mainly work with film projects which are at an advanced stage and are looking for the final amount of financing. We focus on film projects that have a commercial appeal, an identifiable audience, moderaterly low and controllable costs and a sound financial structure. We also require that certain elements are in place before we commit to any film project.