A film by Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
(US/South Korea/India/Nepal 2013 I 83 mins I cert 15)
Directed by: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
Producer by: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay, Tenzing Rigdol
Associate Producers: Diana Takata, Don Thompson
Cinematography: Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
Additional Photography: Michael Fuchs, Nishant Purohit
Editors: Bernadine Colish, Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
Co-editor: Milica Zec
Music: Joel Diamond, Tenzin Choegyal
Featuring (In order of appearance): Tenzing Rigdol, Topten Tsering, Neljor, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Bringing Tibet Home is the deeply personal debut feature documentary by Tibetan filmmaker Tenzin Tsetan Choklay. The film crew follow from start to finish the New York based Tibetan contemporary artist Tenzing Rigdol while he creates his most ambitious installation yet: The Soil Project. Inspired by his father’s dying wish, to once again set foot on Tibetan soil, Rigdol transported soil from Tibet through Nepal to Dharamsala, India, to bring a piece of Tibet to the Tibetan exile community. Choklay films Rigdol’s physical and emotional journey to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges as he navigates the border controls of three countries to smuggle out 20 tons of Tibetan soil. A deeply inspiring portrait of human resilience at its most tested, and a profound example of enduring creativity through times of political turmoil.
★★★★ Total Film
“Bringing Tibet Home has a great deal to say about human suffering and the tragedy of a nation exiled from its own land by colonising forces. It’s rousing, quietly impassioned stuff”
★★★★ Little White Lies ★★★ Time Out
About the Filmmaker
Bringing Tibet Home is a special project for me. Although it tells the story of artist Tenzing Rigdol, in a way I am also telling my own story through his experiences. Like Tenzing Rigdol, my parents also escaped from Tibet after 1959 and have not been able to return home since.
As Tibetans born and raised in exile, this desire to see our homeland is very real and it is a part of our daily existence. When Tenzing Rigdol first told me about his plans to bring 20,000 kilograms of native soil from Tibet to India, I had no doubt that if he succeeded, he would be able to touch the hearts of thousands of Tibetans living in exile and somehow give each of us a sense of relief and joy in this time of despair.
As a filmmaker I felt that through this film I could share a very special experience with other Tibetans and the larger international community. In this day and age, a great number of us spend our lives away from our homes, some by choice and some due to circumstances. And of course speaking of art, I think Tenzing Rigdol’s Soil Project sets a new and a very high standard not just for the world of conceptual art but for art which carries real meaning and purpose. These are some of the reasons why I decided to make this film.
– Tenzin Tsetan Choklay
Tenzin Tsetan Choklay: Director, Producer, Cinematographer & Editor
Tenzin Tsetan Choklay (b. 1979) is a New York-based Tibetan filmmaker. Born to Tibetan refugee parents, Tenzin grew up in Dharamsala in northern India. He studied directing at the Korean Academy of Film Arts in Seoul, South Korea. His past films include a number of short films including History of Momos (2007), Elif’s Seoulitude (2007) and Tell Tale (2008). He was also Associate Producer for the documentary The Sun Behind the Clouds. Bringing Tibet Home is Tenzin’s debut feature documentary.
Tenzing Rigdol is one of the most well known contemporary Tibetan artists based in the United States. His work ranges from paintings, sculptures, drawings, and digital media to video installations and site-specific performance pieces. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States as well as in many different cities around the world.
His artwork is held in major museums and collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He is represented by Rossi and Rossi Gallery, London.
Tenzing Rigdol was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1982 to Tibetan refugee parents. He went to school in India and Nepal and later moved to the United States to pursue his interest in art. He studied at the University of Colorado at Denver and graduated in 2004 with a degree in Fine Art and Art History. Tenzing is also an accomplished poet and three of his books have been published by the Tibet Writes group. Tenzing currently resides in Queens, New York City.
★★★★ Little White Lies – “Gripping and disciplined documentary storytelling”
★★★★ Total Film “Bringing Tibet Home has a great deal to say about human suffering and the tragedy of a nation exiled from its own land by colonising forces. It’s rousing, quietly impassioned stuff”
★★★ Time Out – “the climactic unveiling of his remarkable artwork is a moment of sheer, awestruck joy”
★★★ Empire – “A heartfelt and fascinating piece of documentary-as-art”