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Asian-American film fest to feature works profiling Tibetan culture

November 3, 2010

Krizia Vance
November 1st, 2010

The seventh annual Asian Film Festival begins its
five-day run Tuesday with the documentary film,
"Unmistaken Child,” directed by Nati Baratz,
showing tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Spurlock Museum.

The film festival’s theme this year is
"Visualizing Tibet." All of the films in the fest
showcase films about Tibet. The festival includes
an array of films such as documentaries and
fictional films that each portray a Tibetan life
in a historical and contemporary context. Nancy
Jervis, program director of the Asian Media
Service, said a variety of perspectives will give
her audience a unique take on Tibetan life.

The film fest runs from November 2-7 at the
Spurlock Museum and the Art Theater (next Thursday only). Admission is free.

Tuesday, Nov. 2: "Unmistaken Child"
Thursday, Nov. 4: "Kundun"
Friday, Nov. 5: "Summer Pasture" and "Serfs"
Saturday, Nov. 6: "Milarepa," "Tantric Yogi," "The Search," "Song of Tibet"
Sunday, Nov. 7: "The Search," "Milarepa"

"What I really wanted was different points of
view," Jervis said. "The Chinese directors have
been making films about Tibet for many years. So
I wanted to find some Chinese films. I wanted to
find American documentaries or films. I wanted to
find films by Tibetans. So we have all of that represented."

Each year the festival concentrates on films from
a different region of Asia. Previous years have
focused on films from Japan and South Korea, said
Susan Norris, assistant program coordinator for the Asian Media Service.

When it came to choosing Tibet as the theme for
this year’s festival, Jervis said she wanted a
festival that was previously organized. She ended
up meeting with the organizers of the Tibetan
Harlem Film Festival in New York City, who sent Jervis all of their films.

The only concern was that a Midwestern audience
might need background material on the content of
films largely directed by Tibetan filmmakers.
This lead Jarvis to explore different types of
films and feature one commercially successful film, Kundun by Martin Scorsese.

Along with showing one relatively mainstream
Hollywood film production, Jarvis decided to keep
two of the films made by Tibetan filmmakers, as
well as a film made by one of the organizers of the Tibetan Harlem Film Fest.

Jarvis also said she wanted to keep the focus on
the culture of Tibet rather than the political drama that Tibet faces today.

"My idea behind this festival was really to
portray the culture and the lifestyle of the
people of Tibet without some of the political
drama that is often associated with Tibet and
without the exoticism that’s often associated
with Tibet. So basically to give people as close
of a realistic view of Tibet as possible," said Jarvis.

The films in the festival will be introduced by a
Tibetan specialist along with a question and answer session afterward.

Freshman Genevieve Scheele, freshman in LAS, said
the fest is a good way to learn about a lesser known culture.

"Tibet is kind of a country that people tend to
overlook and so it’s a culture so different from
ours that I think it’s important to go because
you learn a lot," Scheele said. "Also, a lot of
the films have to do with Buddhism and I don’t
think a lot of people understand Buddhism. It’s
like a new way to look at another religion."
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