NANGCHEN SHORTS is a triptych of short films - "Ritual Objects", "Water" and "Tsampa" - about life in remote, rural Tibet: . They were filmed in and around Kala Rongo, a Buddhist Monastery exclusively for women in Kham, Tibet. Each film, together and separate, has played at film festivals around the world. They are available on VOD (click below), and through the Kanopy streaming platform, available from many public and university libraries.
Produced, Directed and Edited by Bari Pearlman | Cinematograpy by Gena Konstantinakos
In WATER, a Tibetan woman collects water near her family's yak farm, in a ritual that takes her an hour to complete. In the developing world, water-gathering is primarily a woman's job - rural Tibet is no exception. Several times a day, she carries a bucket to a potable source of water and brings it back home 80-pounds full. This task is physically debilitating, and keeps her from seeking education, wage-earning jobs, and rest from her other exhausting tasks.
In 2019, WATER was selected for the Italian educational program "BETWEEN CINEMA AND NATURE: Training for Sustainable Development." This initiative pairs films with a country-wide school curriculum raising awareness of the 17 goals of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030. WATER has been chosen to enrich the discussion of Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.
RITUAL OBJECTS explores three traditional Buddhist rituals via the implements that are used in them. A young nun shares the meaning and mechanics of the iconic Tibetan PRAYER WHEEL. The visit of a High Lama to their remote monastery prompts a group of nuns to prepare a customary welcoming PROCESSION. And an old monk gently instructs one of the nuns on how to prepare the TORMA for an intricate Tibetan Buddhist ceremony.
In TSAMPA , a young nun quietly preparing tsampa in a traditional yak tent, and are treated to a brief lesson in how to make eating a mindful act. Tsampa - sometimes called the Tibetan national food - is a mixture of roasted barley flour, yak butter and tea, and is often the only food available to the subsistence farmers and yak herders of rural Tibet.
These films would not have been possible without the generous support of The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, The Corporation of Yaddo, and Digital Arts. And of course, the wonderful people of Nangchen, Tibet.