Tibetan Film Festival at Agnes Scott

Last week, from January 22 – 27, award-winning Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden visited Agnes Scott with his films and generously lent his time to discuss the films with audience.

Once the first Tibetan student at Beijing Film Academy and now the leading sheep of Tibetan film industry, Director Pema Tseden earned substantial public and critical acclaim both in and out of China. His films represent some of the best screen adaptations of literary texts; the most notable one goes to his most recent featured film Tharlo (2015), which was shared with the Atlanta community on Saturday, January 27, in Midtown Art Cinema.


Director Pema Tseden first greeted the Agnes Scott community on Wednesday, January 24, at 7 p.m. with his first full-length feature film The Silent Holy Stones (2005). Under a very limited budget, this film movingly portrays a life-changing new year’s eve of a young monk as he defines his traditional heritage from modernity. “The silent holy stones,” said Director Pema Tseden later, “are a metaphor for the long-standing and speechless Tibetan landscape that observes its people’s evolution with a gentle eye.”

The Q&A session following the film-screening was actively participated by faculty, students, and friends of the Agnes Scott community. The facilitator and translator for the session, Dr. Jessica Yeong who teaches at Hong Kong Baptist University, is also the translator of the short story Tharlo as well as the subtitles of the film.

The next day, the Director brought his third full-length feature film Old Dog (2011) to Emory University. As the moderator at the Emory event put it, it was a pleasure to “steal him from Agnes Scott” for a night. The film was warmly received as were the rest.


As an international student from China studying at Agnes Scott, I especially appreciated Director Pema Tseden’s visit since it has been very difficult to exchange conversations with domestic students about China and Tibet. The visit of Director Pema Tseden sheds light into what “a fair representation of modern Tibet” entails, authentically from a Tibetan and not skewed towards either Chinese or Western. At the end of this series of events, Director Pema Tseden contends that the work of film has and always will be a service for the humanity – not for a particular group of people, but rather all of us.

And so I hope the educational enterprise at Agnes Scott shall do to its diverse student body: a service for the humanity.


From Your Global Ambassador,

Tiantian Ciel Zhang’18


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