Director Pema Tseden joined us with Professor Chris Berry for this particularly engaging Q&A.
The main questions for the director:
THE SILENT HOLY STONES was one of your first feature films, and it was made 15 years ago. Since then, you’ve made about ten more. How do you feel looking back at that film today?
The story of the film is mostly focused on the young monk and the even younger tulku. The holy stones are encountered on their journeys, but they are not a big part of the story. So, why did you decide to call the film “The Silent Holy Stones,” and not, perhaps, “The Little Tulku” or “The Little Monk”?
There’s a saying in Hollywood – never work with children or animals. How did you manage to direct the child actors in the film so successfully? Did you have to use special techniques?
You’re an author as well as a filmmaker, writing in both Tibetan and Chinese. What made you decide you also wanted to be a filmmaker?
I believe you were the first Tibetan student at the Beijing Film Academy. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
In your early films, the women’s roles were quite small and unimportant, like the mother in THE SILENT HOLY STONES. But more recently, in films like THARLO and BALLOON, the women’s roles have become a lot more important. Why?
In regards to ethnic identity, do you think it’s an inevitable motif for Tibetan directors when they start making films? Or do you that think they gonna diversify / do you expect that commercial and industrial development of Tibetan films will lead to catering more to the general public’s taste?