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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

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 SYNOPSIS

 

 

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!

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.

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’.

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.