Inaccessibility and isolation has protected Zanskar from cultural change. Today it is one of the last places on earth where the original Tibetan Buddhist way of life still exists. But now that culture and way of life are dying. Prompted by the Dalai Lama, two monks select 17 children from Zanskar to be educated so their cultural heritage will not be lost. This is their story…
“Zanskar is vital to the survival of Tibetan Buddhism”
Two Buddhist monks help save their dying culture by leading a group of 17 poor children on a journey from Zanskar in remote northwest India through the Himalayas.
This extraordinary feature-length documentary, JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR, is narrated by actor Richard Gere and features His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It tells the heroic, remarkable tale of these monks and children.
The monks carefully select the brightest, most capable children in meetings with the poorest of the poor families. The kids then must separate from fathers and mothers, grandparents and friends. The monks lead the children on foot and horseback on an arduous and dangerous five day trek. At less than 300 vertical feet from the pass the trek runs into crisis – the yaks and horses can’t navigate the deep snow. Rather than risk anyone dying, the monks insist on turning back. Forlorn and dejected, the whole party returns all the way back to the starting point in Padum.
Undaunted, the monks resort to a fallback plan. Renting buses and vans, the group travels on closed roads over even higher passes, first to Leh, then to Manali. Success! They make it. They bask in the lush greenery and warm, humid air. To further their education and accent their accomplishment, all the children are later brought to Dharamsala to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
All purchases include a discussion guide.
Run time: 90 minutes
Higher Education DVD + PPR, Higher Education DVD + PPR + Streaming License, K-12 and Nonprofit Groups DVD + PPR
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Filmmaker Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated producer/director with 25 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award.
His film Hoop Dreams played in hundreds of theaters nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 “Ten Best” lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turan and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history.