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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Pacific Rim Film Fest Starts Today

October 18, 2010

Festival features documentary and narrative
stories about Asian and Pacific Island cultures at venues across town
By Justin Kelsey
Santa Cruz Patch
October 15, 2010

 From the crafted stories of original narratives
to insightful global documentaries, Santa Cruz plays host to an
audio-visual menagerie of Asian and Pacific Island cultures, beginning today.

 From now through Tuesday, movie lovers can enjoy
admission-free screenings at the 2010 Pacific Rim
Film Festival (PRFF), with the exception of the closing night benefit.

The Pacific Rim Festival, now in its 22nd year,
gives Santa Cruzans an opportunity to meet the people behind the films.

Santa Cruz Patch caught up with Will Parrinello,
one of the distinguished filmmakers who will
screen his latest documentary, Mustang: A Journey
of Transformation, at the Pacific Rim Festival.

Narrated by Richard Gere, Parrinello's
documentary exemplifies the power that film has
to discover, restore, share and keep a culture
alive. The documentary features a Tibetan
Buddhist culture that was on the verge of
disappearing into ancient history, until Nepal
finally opened the borders that concealed this
"Forbidden Kingdom" in the Himalayas.

Mustang: A Journey of Transformation will be
screened Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Del Mar Theater
in downtown Santa Cruz. It's also availale on iTunes.

Santa Cruz Patch: How does it feel to be a part of the Pacific Rim Festival?

Will Parrinello: I'm always excited to part of a
festival that invites me to screen my film. This
year's slate of films at Pacific Rim Festival is
a wonderful mix—some old, most new, and all
intriguing. Having read the description of each
film in the festival I'm interested in seeing
them all, and having been on the festival circuit
for the past year, I feel like I'm very picky and
a bit jaded, because I've seen many of the best
films out there today. The programmers are doing
a good job and have very good taste.

Patch: What makes this festival truly stand out?

Parrinello: A wonderful mix of films with the
theme of the Pacific Rim that allows viewers to
get a unique perspective on the cultures of the
Pacific Rim and the cultures of the people of the
Pacific Rim in America. From a filmmaker's
perspective, it's also an incredibly wonderful
experience to have a festival program films
without charging its audiences and paying the
filmmakers a rental fee and stipend to screen
their films. In a culture like ours, that
generally doesn't revere, respect or seem to
appreciate the value of art; it feels like I died
and went to heaven. My hat is off to the festival organizers.

Patch: What kind of influence does a festival
like this one have on the future of filmmaking?

Parrinello: Through its screenings, the Pacific
Rim Film Festival will encourage filmmakers to
create new works in order to submit to such an
audience and filmmaker-friendly festival.
Filmmakers do this work because they have
something to say to an audience, and the PRFF
provides an important outlet for these stories.

Patch: Is there anything in particular that
people should know about your screening that
would encourage them to come out and participate this year?

Parrinello: Mustang is a remote 15th century
kingdom on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
It's a harsh, beautiful landscape—the people and
culture of the region are some of the most
beautiful I have ever had the pleasure of knowing in my travels.

I just had lunch today with my director of
photography Andrew Black and Italian art
conservator Luigi Fieni, one of the subjects of
the film. We talked about how, two years after
making the adventurous journey to Mustang, the
experience is as vivid as if we had it yesterday.
It was the trip of a lifetime, working with the
best crew a director could ever hope for, with
incredible protagonists, an amazing story of a
cultural renaissance and a backdrop—the high
Tibetan plateau above the Himalayas—that every
director longs for. Five days on
horseback—through the Kali Gandaki River gorge,
by some measures, the deepest gorge in the
world—over 14,000-foot passes—visiting medieval
walled cities with Buddhist monasteries housing

the Asian equivalent of Italian Renaissance wall
paintings. It is a magical place that most people
will never have the opportunity to visit—but we take you there in our film.

If you go...

When: Today through Tuesday.

Where: Various venues, including Del Mar Theater,
Rio Theater and the Cabrillo College Watsonville Center.

Cost: Free (except closing night)

More information:

Tickets: Closing night benefit tickets are
available at Bookshop Santa Cruz, Logos Books and
Records, Aloha Island Grille or online at
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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