The feature-length documentary TEAM TIBET - Home away from Home presents a story about Tibetan issues from a fresh perspective. It takes us on a journey through the eyes of Thuten Kesang, New Zealand’s first Tibetan refugee, who has lived in exile for more than fifty years. He has dedicated his life to raising awareness of the plight of Tibetans and the preservation of Tibetan identity. Thuten's charismatic personality and commitment to the values of compassion and non-violence make him an endearing and powerful messenger of the complex environmental and political issues at hand -- and a role-model for the positive power of perseverance.
THE UNFOLDING STORY
Born in Lhasa, Tibet in 1944, Thuten grew up believing the world was flat. He became a Tibetan Buddhist monk at the age of six, but his penchant for running away from the monastery eventually led his father to take him to Kalimpong, India for boarding school in 1954.
It was at the home of Thuten's surrogate father Mr. Crow in Calcutta where Thuten's life-long love of tennis began. An avid player for over forty years, Thuten credits tennis for keeping him young. And the film's title takes its inspiration from one of his tennis teams, 'Team Tibet'.
In 1988, thirty-five years after leaving his homeland, Thuten had his first chance to visit Tibet again. What he witnessed with his own eyes multiplied his efforts to do everything possible to raise awareness about the situation in Tibet, both in New Zealand and internationally.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has often affirmed that a small country like New Zealand can do a lot for Tibet.
The film delves into parallels between the isolation of New Zealand and Tibet -- and explores the interconnectedness between environment, human rights and trade issues in our increasingly interdependent world.
It's our hope that TEAM TIBET - Home away from Home and Thuten's inspiring story will help to build new bridges of understanding between diverse communities -- and to celebrate the interconnected values that people share beyond cultural or religious beliefs.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
After twenty-two years of research and filming, our feature-length film TEAM TIBET - Home away from Home is now in the early stages of editing!
Our independent film has gotten this far thanks to the incredible generosity of time and skills from numerous friends in New Zealand and internationally -- and a pivotal seed grant from the Hartley Film Foundation, USA!
We now need YOUR HELP to raise needed completion funds for editing and post-production! All editing/post-production will take place in Wellington, New Zealand at substantially reduced rates, whilst ensuring the highest possible quality.
OUR GOAL is to complete the film in time for a World Premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival 2017, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of Thuten's arrival to New Zealand. We've just been informed that TEAM TIBET - Home away from Home is now officially on the festival's "radar", which is encouraging!
We greatly appreciate your assistance with NETWORKING and SUPPORT to help us reach the finish line in time for the festival's consideration early 2017! Many thanks in anticipation! Thu-je-che ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་།
[NOTE: For the future, in the unexpected event of any profit from this labor-of-love documentary, the filmmaker will donate 50% of any proceeds to the charities of Thuten's wish.]
HOW IT ALL STARTED...
Filmmaker Robin Greenberg spent several long stints in Dharamsala, India during the 1990s doing volunteer educational video work with the Tibetan Department of Health of the government-in-exile. In 1994, she happened to meet Mr. Tenzin Atisha, Director of Environment and Development Desk. He approached Robin to assist with a local community project. During that collaboration, an idea was seeded for a film, originally with a focus on the Tibetan environment. Over the years, the documentary evolved into its current creative form with Thuten Kesang as the main character.
Robin first met Thuten Kesang during His Holiness the Dalai Lama's first visit to New Zealand in 1992. Thuten's positive approach to life's challenges and his incredible generosity continue to be a great inspiration to Robin, which she feels a wider audience will also appreciate. Moreover, Thuten's life journey serves as a special vehicle through which to share the broader story of Tibet in an intimate way, and with a unique perspective from New Zealand.
Thank YOU for becoming part of our international team to help complete TEAM TIBET!
OUR 'TEAM TIBET' TEAM:
Director & Producer - ROBIN GREENBERG
Executive Producer - VINCENT BURKE
Associate Producer - RUTH KORVER
CINEMATOGRAPHY - WAKA ATTEWELL, COSTA BOTES, JOHN CHRISSTOFFELS, RUTH KORVER, CHRIS LI
2nd Unit Camera: JAMES BROWN
Editor - PETER METCALF, 195 SUITES
Sound-mix - IAN LESLIE
Featuring: THUTEN KESANG, GWEN KESANG, TENZIN ATISHA, GEORGE BORTHWICK, JOHN BUCKLAND, NEIL CAMERON, CHHIME CHOEKYAPA, IAN COUPER, LEONIE COUPER, SIMON HARRISON, MELISSA LEE, PETER LOVE, JEAN NUTTALL, GANDEN PALJOR, IAN REVELL, ROGER SMITH, JANET TAN, BHUCHUNG TSERING, TENZIN TETHONG, DENISE WADSWORTH, ALYN WARE, VENERABLE GESHE WANGCHEN, TSERING KESANG, ELIZABETH KESANG and HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
Music: JAMES KIMO WEST, TENZIN CHOEGYAL & more...
Risks and challenges
The challenges of this documentary have been multi-faceted over the years, not the least of which has been striving for the highest possible production values over two decades despite elusive financial resources.
A documentary relating to the 'hot potato' topic of Tibet is not without its share of risks. And our team has been committed every step of the way to ensuring sensitivity, integrity and balance in handling the issues and visuals, as well as the personal safety of all concerned.
A key personal challenge for director Robin Greenberg has been to uphold the film's underlying positive message, which, despite the complexity of the issues at hand, remains one of transcendent hope for the future.
**PLEASE NOTE: IF we're fortunate enough to exceed our campaign target, then any additional funding will be prioritized for the following:
- inclusion of additional archival television footage from New Zealand (which has been largely out of reach due to exorbitant costs)
- ensuring that we get the film seen as widely as possible on international film festival circuit (hopefully near you!)
- grassroots outreach for the film, including screenings & discussions.
Many thanks in anticipation. We can't wait to share our film with you soon!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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