Date & Time: 6th March, 13.00 GMT | Format: Live on Zoom
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Biography of Pema Tseden
Born in Amdo, the Tibetan region of Qinghai Province, China, the 51 years old director Pema Tsedan is probably the first and only internationally emerged Tibetan filmmaker so far, he was also the first-ever Tibetan student in the prominent Beijing Film Academy.
Starting his career as a writer, Pema Tseden published more than 50 short stories and novels both in Tibetan and in Chinese. He directed his debut short A Silent Holy Stone in 2002, and after several other domestically awards-winning productions, he completed his debut feature with the same name in 2005. Since then, Pema Tseden continued to make films in Tibetan language using Tibetan crews and non-professional actors, such as Soul Searching (2007), Old Dog (2011), Tharlo (2015), Jinpa (2018) and the most recent Balloon (2019).
It seems that the director has been trying to or has achieved to establish his own cinematic style - documenting a simple, quiet and ethnographic Tibetan life without too much dramatic narratives and cinematography. Such method, as Tenzing Sonam (2012) explains, is a way of telling a story that would reflect the importance of the director’s native culture and traditions, and highlight the inevitable changes they were undergoing, without directly commenting on their source or cause. This ambiguity allowed him to carve out the breathing space he required to be allowed to make and show his film in China and the outside world. It also set the template for the kind of Tibetan cinema that would be tolerated by the Chinese authorities.
With the success of Balloon, Pema Tsedan has been steadily on the trajectory of becoming the first and the most prominent Tibetan film auteur, who consistently writes about the life and society within Tibetan context, through his realistic yet poetic camera lens.
Selected Filmography and Awards
Balloon (2019) - Venice International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival Nomination
Jinpa (2018) - Venice International Film Festival Best Screenplay
Tharlo (2016) - Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion Nomination, Golden Horse Awards Best Adapted Screenplay
The Sacred Arrow (2014)
Old Dog (2011) - Tokyo Future International Film Festival Best Picture
Soul Searching (2009) - Locarno International Film Festival, London Film Festival Best Film Nomination
The Silent Holy Stone (2005) - Golden Rooster Awards Best Directorial Debut; Shanghai International Film Festival Asian New Talent Award Best Director
Guest: Professor Chris Berry
Professor Chris Berry is a senior and well-known scholar of Chinese Cinema, he has devoted to study and teach Chinese Cinema for years, and has contributed in academic publication in this domain. He is now a professor of Film Studies at King’s College London.
Previously he was the Professor of Film & Television Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London (2004-2012); Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (2000-2004); Lecturer at La Trobe (1990-2000) and Griffith (1988-1989) universities in Australia; and consultant at the China Foreign Languages Press (1987-1988) and China Film Corporation in Beijing (1985-1987).
He has also been interviewed widely on Chinese and Asian cinema and screen cultures by organisations including The New York Times, the BBC, The Korea Times, NHK Japan, Discovery Asia, CNN’s Today programme, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Tehran TV Channels 1 and 2.