Three Rare Documentary Films

ABOUT THE TREASURES AND SECRETS OF THE BUDDHIST WORLD AND CULTURE

An Officer and His Holiness

THE NEVER BEFORE TOLD STORY OF THE ESCAPE OF HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA INTO EXILE

Road To Happiness

A JOURNEY INTO THE LIVES OF THE WORLD’S HAPPIEST PEOPLE THAT ASKS “WHAT TRULY MAKES US HAPPY?’

Return To Ladakh

A RARE DOCUMENTARY FILM ABOUT THE TREASURES AND SECRETS OF THE BUDDHIST WORLD AND CULTURE

INTRODUCTION

The Compassionate Film Series is a Mini-Series of 3 One-Hour broadcast slot TV documentaries related to Tibetan Buddhism made for the international marketplace. They have been developed by British film and television Production Company Illumina Studios & Media Ltd with Award Winning filmmakers, journalists and authors as creative contributors.

The films can be shown by broadcasters in one hour special TV slots on their own or together as a series. All the films aim to highlight the ancient and vibrant cultures, stories, traditions and wide international interest in the subjects relating to Tibet and Buddhism.

The current market for television series is strong and these films are intended to capitalise on this trend. The unrivalled access to some of the world’s leading figures, including His Holiness Dalai Lama combined with unique cultural content will be relevant and appealing to a broad international audience.

The telling of the stories in the series represents the culmination of many years of storytelling history and back stories and are to be told on film for the first time with some of the worlds leading talent. The focus of these films is to be inspiring and educational whilst providing a window into more compassionate alternative world views with a basis in history and direct relevance to the modern world. Illumina Studios and Media Ltd is proud to be making these socially and culturally relevant films.

FILM SYNOPSES 

Series Episode 1: An Officer & His Holiness

Fifty-eight years after China’s Most Wanted Man escaped from occupied Tibet, this powerful documentary lm 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.

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, Harmandar Singh.

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 Chogyal, the Indian frontier Offcial, Harmandar Singh and others the film also includes profound wisdom and life advice from the Dalai Lama himself.

The deep emotional and spiritual experience of the Indian Official, gained from spending three weeks together with the Dalai Lama is uncovered by Harmandar Singh’s niece, 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 high in the Himalayan mountains and travels through ‘Tawang’, the 2nd Largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the world traveling over the ‘Se La Pass’ to Harmandar 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. Remarkably, this is the first time that the story will have ever been told on film!

Series Episode 2: Road to Happiness

Right now there is a global epidemic of unhappiness sweeping the Western World. Road to Happiness is a new Feature Documentary from British Production Company Illumina Studios & Media Ltd and Leon Stuparich. It is the sequel to the acclaimed documentary lm ‘Road to Peace’ that takes us on a journey into the lives of the ‘worlds happiest people’ and seeks to discover: what truly makes us happy? Through the lives of the worlds leading thinkers, philosophers, and in uential celebrities – the people who have immediate impact in mass media today – we will nd out if happiness really is the meaning of life.

Road to Happiness is the continuation of the Dalai Lama’s astounding insights on Happiness and the human condition, which includes his philosophy of peace and is something that relates to all of us. If the one of the world’s greatest philosophers and leaders, the Dalai Lama, is suggesting happiness is the real meaning of life, what is the relationship between all of us and happiness and how can we really create more happiness in our everyday lives?

“According to the World Health Organization, by 2030, the amount of disability and life lost as a result of depression will be greater than that resulting from any other condition, including accidents, war, suicide, cancer, and stroke.” ~ Huffington Post

This film will put a mirror up to the world and ask: Are you really happy and do you think the world is a happy place? The lm will offer practical solutions for individuals around the world to better understand happiness and in so doing show how we can all make valuable changes our lives – and the lives of our communities, to become happier, more prosperous, and ultimately peaceful places to live.

Sources of modern unhappiness range from increasing working hours and stress, nancial crises, discord amongst religious and cultural beliefs, environmental disasters and the nightmare of a global population explosion. Billions are struggling on an endless treadmill chase, trying to ‘obtain’ what we all ultimately want from life: Happiness. This lm will explore how mass media – generally the most powerful external in uencer of Western culture, portrays to us what we should fear and what it thinks happiness should be by advertising fame, wealth and celebrity.

During the powerful stories documented in Road to Happiness, we will take the audience on a journey beyond the mental chaos of news, advertising and Reality TV to show us the calm amidst the chaos behind the scenes and lives of the worlds happiest people. We will attempt to understand what really makes us happy and what do the worlds happiest people know that we don’t? How do they live? What do they do differently and how can this bene t all of us and our loved ones?

Through a rousing series of varied in depth interviews with everyone from world famous ‘happy monks’ from Tibet to Hollywood Celebrities, comedians, TV personalities and delving into the boardrooms of major corporations, we nd out if there is a common thread to experiencing more happiness in our lives.

The film we will seek out whether we can live a happy modern lifestyle without abandoning everything to live without possessions meditating in a remote hilltop cave and to answer the ultimate question: how do we go about nding happiness? If it isn’t about fame or being a multimillionaire, how can we apply the knowledge of the world’s happiest people in our daily lives? By witnessing their lives and exploring their thinking, we will be inspired to create more happiness in our own life, and everyone around us. Through some of the happiest people in the world we will share the idea that we need a global revolution of happiness and kindness. We will take you on a journey to discover how happiness comes from within and propose that happiness could well be the true meaning of life.

Series Episode 3: Return To Ladakh

The documentary lm RETURN TO LADAKH follows Andrew Harvey, the author, religious scholar and teacher of mystic traditions as he returns to the place that inspired his life-long mission of ‘Sacred Activism’ in the very same Monastery he began his spiritual transformation over 30 years ago. This was a transformation that Harvey documented beautifully in his rst book and international best seller, ‘A Journey In Ladakh’.

This is the story of the author’s return to Ladakh to meet the reincarnation of the revered Buddhist Master, His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, who was his teacher in his last life and who is now 29, living again and in charge of the state of Ladakh, which he governs courageously using Buddhist principles. Offering profound and powerful insights into Buddhist culture, spiritual transformation and beliefs in reincarnation, the lm will be a unique testament to the West and serve as a wake up call to all Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike about the need to live more engaged and compassionate lives. It will give audiences a sense of the importance of human life and what you do with it. This message is at the core of Thuksey Rinpoche’s teachings.

The film will offer a rare and unprecedented glimpse into the treasures and secrets of the Buddhist world and culture, exploring the meaning of success and happiness within a paradigm that exists in dramatic contrast to the cult of celebrity and the modern day consumerism of the western world. Born in Ladakh in 1986, His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche was recognised by H.H. 14th Dalai Lama and H.H. 12th Gyalwang Drukpa as the reincarnation of the rst Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche – a prominent gure in Himalayan Buddhism during the last century. Today he governs the region and possesses a precise and potent message relevant for the whole world.

“The Kingdom of Ladakh, once considered Western Tibet is now administered by the Indian Government, is located 3,700m above sea level on the borders of China and Pakistan. Because it lies in a politically sensitive area foreigners were forbidden to visit there until 1974. As a result, the culture of Ladakh is still relatively unchanged.”

Leonard Cohen, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Way of Life

His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche

Series Inspired By

Born in Ladakh in 1986, His Eminence Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche was recognised by H.H. 14th Dalai Lama and H.H. 12th Gyalwang Drukpa as the reincarnation of the first Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche – a prominent figure in Himalayan Buddhism during the last century. After his exile from Tibet, he ensured the continuity, legacy and teaching of the Drukpa School of Buddhism, establishing one of its main monasteries, Druk Thubten Sangag Choeling, in Darjeeling India.

His Eminence Thuksey Rinpoche spent most of his childhood in this monastery before continuing his education for nine years at the prestigious Tango University in Bhutan. An accomplished meditation master, His Eminence has taken on many responsibilities including the management of the monastery in Darjeeling, the Druk Pema Karpo School – an award-winning educational project in Ladakh, and the Drukpa centres of Buddhist studies and meditation in Europe. He is an articulate advocate of compassion in action, having also set up an animal sanctuary in the Himalayas. His Eminence is part of the young generation of Buddhist Masters who bring a contemporary and modern approach to Buddhism and spirituality. He speaks fluent English and is able to teach from a depth of realisation, communicating the essence of Buddhist teachings in an engaging manner.

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.

 

Leon Stuparich

Co Producer / Editor (Episode 1: An Officer & His Holiness, Episode 2: Road To Happiness)

Leon Stuparich is an award winning independent film-maker, who made his debut with the celebrated documentary Road to Peace in 2012, providing a rare insider view into the life of the Dalai Lama and his powerful message of Peace and Universal Responsibility.

With an extensive background in UK and US film and television spanning 20 years, Leon specializes in editing documentaries and factual entertainment programmes for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and various other global TV productions. Like many directors with a background in editing, he brings a unique storytelling style to his films.

Witnessing his Croatian family endure the violent war years of the early 1990s in former Yugoslavia, by his early 20s, Leon had developed a keen interest in conflict resolution and began to seek peace in his inner life, avidly exploring religious and spiritual ideas and pathways for self-transformation which would come to inspire and inform his work. Today Leon is dedicated to awakening inner peace within other people, in order to participate in creating a more harmonious environment for all.

Andrew Harvey

Executive Producer/Writer (Episode 3: Return to Ladakh)

Andrew Harvey is an author, religious scholar and teacher of mystic traditions, known for his popular nonfiction books on spiritual or mystical themes, beginning with his 1983 A Journey in Ladakh. He is Founder Director of the Institute of Sacred Activism, an international organisation that invites concerned people to take up the challenge of our contemporary global crises by becoming inspired and engaged agents of change. Sacred activism is a form of compassion-in-action that is born of a fusion of deep spiritual passion with wise radical action in the world. He works to encourage the large-scale practice of Sacred Activism, which he feels can become an essential force for preserving and healing the planet and its inhabitants. Andrew Harvey has taught at Oxford and Cornell University’s well as at various colleges and spiritual centers throughout the world. He has written over 30 books including ‘Dialogues with a Modern Mystic’, ‘Hidden Journey’, ‘The Return of the Mother’, ‘Radical Passion’, ‘The Celebration of Rumi’ and ‘Journey In Ladakh’.

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.