A Secretly Produced Film Captures the True Feelings of Tibetans
Tibetans Speak on Tibet, China and the Olympics
Media Briefing and Screening
August 6, 2008 12:00 pm
BEIJING, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today in the city of the XXIX
Olympiad, an unprecedented film made secretly in Tibet and smuggled out just
days before the March uprisings will be screened for world media. Leaving Fear
Behind is a 25-minute documentary shot by a team of courageous Tibetan
filmmakers which captures the sentiment within Tibet about China's rule, the
relevance and symbolism of the Olympic Games, and the return of the Dalai
A team of self-taught filmmakers from eastern Tibet, Dhondup Wangchen (a
farmer) and his friend Golog Jigme (a monk), secretly filmed over 35 hours of
interviews with everyday Tibetans on three subjects: Chinese rule in Tibet,
the Beijing Olympic Games, and the Dalai Lama.
Armed with a $300 video camera, and with virtually no experience, the
filmmakers set out on motorcycle, travelling to the remote corners of eastern
Tibet and across the Tibetan plateau. From the beginning, their goal was to
bring Tibetan voices to the Beijing Games. "It is very difficult for Tibetans
to go to Beijing and speak out there. So that is why we decided to show the
real feelings of Tibetans inside Tibet through this film," notes the filmmaker
Dhondup Wangchen in his film.
More than 100 interviews were taped from October 2007 to March 2008.
Heartfelt feelings were recorded from Tibetans of all backgrounds: farmers,
businessmen, students, nomads and monks, young and old. The authenticity of
their responses speaks simply and eloquently of lives characterized by
oppression and discrimination:
Quotes from interviewees:
"Actually we would be happy about the Games but much is being
misrepresented. China was awarded the Games on the condition that the
situation in China and Tibet would improve."
". . . outsiders may think that the Tibetans are treated very well and
that they are happy. But the truth is that Tibetans are not free to speak of
"For every Tibetan, there are ten to fifteen Chinese. The Chinese are
everywhere in these Tibetan areas."
"Even if I had to sacrifice my life for this message to be seen by the
Dalai Lama, I agree and welcome this chance."
All twenty of the people who appear in the film agreed to have their
faces shown on film - at great personal risk. Wangchen reveals that some
interviewees "said that we absolutely had to show their faces, otherwise it
wasn't worth speaking to them," so strong was their desire to counter
Beijing's narrative on Tibet.
During the precarious filming Dhondup Wangchen worked under the code name
Jigme ("Fearless" in Tibetan). His code name, and the bravery of all those
associated with this project, inspired the film's name Jigdrel, which
translates to Leaving Fear Behind.
Soon after sending out their tapes on March 10, 2008, Dhondup Wangchen
and Golog Jigme were arrested. They remain in detention today. Dhondup
Wangchen was last seen in detention in Guangsheng Binguan in Xining (Qinghai).
Golog Jigme was last seen in a detention center in the town of Lingxia
Their tapes were transported to Switzerland, where the final cut was put
together by Wangchen's cousin, Gyaljong Tsetrin. Gyaljong Tsetrin, who
escaped from Tibet in 2002, founded Filming For Tibet to produce this film.
For more information and to view the film online, visit
For further information:
For further information: Dechen Pemba, London, +44 778 482 3907
(English, German, Mandarin, Tibetan), Kelsang Gope, Zurich, +41 79 506 8512
(English, German, Tibetan), or Gyaljong Tsetrin, Zurich, +41 76 462 6768
(Tibetan), all for Filming For Tibet, Email inquiries:
firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site: http://www.leavingfearbehind.com