The Making Of The Film
new feature length "Voices in Exile" began with the short "Refugee
- An Account."
documentary film on the lives of Tibetans in exile from a Tibetan
Director, Cinematographer and Editor: Tenzin Wangden Andrugtsang
Location: Northern India
Running time: 1 hour, 5 minutes, 27 seconds
Available: DVD and for screenings
Producer: Joe Mickey, Northern California
Associate Producer: Sazzy Varga, Southern California
Produced in association with The Tibetan Photo Project / Cameras
for Culture on the Web at www.tibetanphotoproject.com
voice of the Dalai Lama has defined Tibet to the world. Since 1949,
Chinese policies have led to the deaths of 1.2 million Tibetans
(1/6th of the population) by execution, imprisonment, starvation
and forced labor. China's assault on Tibet forced the Dalai Lama
into exile in India in 1959.
his insistence on a nonviolent solution with China, the Dalai Lama
received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Now 70 years old, the Dalai
Lama has spent years gaining allies and respect around the world
for his insistence that the Chinese government grant autonomy and
respect for his people in their own homeland. With the help of the
Indian government and international aid, he has also built a community
of between 130,000 and 150,000 Tibetan refugees who followed him
out of Tibet, with another 1,000 to 3,000 entering the community
by escaping through the Himalayas annually.
current leadership has chosen enforcement of strict and brutal policies
designed to complete the cultural genocide of the Tibetan culture.
Given China's rise on the world stage as a social, political and
military power, China is not likely to relent any time soon. In
order to maintain any support in today's world, the Tibetans will
need to continue to create voices for years, if not decades to come.
the last 5 years, The Tibetan Photo Project, founded by Joe Mickey
and Sazzy Varga, has been building the first organized exhibit collection
of photos taken by Tibetans living in exile, images of the Dalai
Lama, informational texts and rare 1932 pictures of Tibet.
rare images of life in exile in India are creating at least one
Tibetan voice through media coverage of The Tibetan Photo Project
exhibits, Website, lectures and now the 2005 DVD production and
release of "Voices in Exile" by Tenzin Wangden Andrugtsang.
and Varga met Wangden online about 4 years ago when Mickey was corresponding
via e-mail with the office of the Dalai Lama where Wangden worked
as a secretary. Mickey asked Wangden if he would take some photographs.
"We were treated with portrait masterpieces taken with the disposable
cameras given to us by Daniel Carp, CEO of Eastman Kodak" said Mickey.
the strength of his stills, Mickey asked Wangden if he would be
interested in making a film. With an e-mail agreement on a production
schedule, Mickey took the role of executive producer with Sazzy
Varga as associate producer and Wangden was supplied with a professional
level camera, production equipment and an editing bay in India.
the project progresses, its important to stay true to the mission
of The Tibetan Photo Project," says Mickey, "We did not want any
Western interference with the content of the film. It was important
that 'Voices in Exile' was 110 percent Wangden's design."
created the concept and production was optimistically scheduled
for a 6 month schedule.
Nov. 15, 2004, his first short arrived. "Refugee - An Account" was
filmed in northern India as Wangden experienced the process of directing,
cinematography and editing. The piece has been incorporated into
the final cut of "Voices in Exile."
6 months into the film and many, many hours of raw footage, Wangden
and Joe finally met face-to-face, in early 2005, at The Tibetan
Photo Project exhibit at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana.
The Tibetan Photo Project exhibit and Wangden's trip to Shreveport
where all made possible by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment
for the Humanities, and expectations were high that a final cut
of "Voices in Exile" could be achieved at Centenary's film department
film making, optimism runs ahead of reality.
work-in-progress of "Voices in Exile" was shown at the Centenary
which was extremely well received. Despite external pressures, Wangden
and Joe agreed, "Voices in Exile" was not a film that could or should
have been finished in the US.
they decided that this film needed to be finished in the environment
where it was filmed.
March, Wangden returned to exile in India and he and Joe set a deadline
for the final cut.
his vision intact and inspired by being back with friends and family,
Wangden met deadline and the final cut of "Voices in Exile" arrived
straight from his heart and his home in exile.
the rest of this project, this film was made on begging bowl budget,"
said Mickey who has presented slideshows and lectured at colleges
and universities in California, Colorado and Louisiana. Varga recently
gave her first lecture to an in-house audience of 125 at Remington
College in southern California. "It was fascinating to me to
see just how very little these college students knew of the Tibetans
and their lives in exile. And it reaffirms just how important and
the magnitude of value The Tibetan Photo Project and now "Voices
in Exile" have to the education and collective conscious of
their audiences." says Varga
West has a great deal to learn from the experience of the Tibetan
community," said Mickey. "The perspective provided from the modern
history of Tibet and China reveals a great deal about the nature
of China's future leadership. The lessons have become even more
relevant with the rise to power by Hu Jintao, China's former hard-line
secretary to Tibet."
combined circulation of publications in print that have told some
part of Tibet's tragedy through reporting on The Tibetan Photo Project
is approaching 26 million. On the Web, over 1,500 sites link the
Tibetan Photo Project has opened the door for some part of Tibet's
story to be told on radio stations in Canada, California, Louisiana,
Virginia and Colorado and at least one interview is on the Web for
connection with the Shreveport exhibit, Louisiana Pubic Television
produced a polished 4-minute piece that was broadcast statewide.
at work on release and distribution of "Voices in Exile," Mickey
is also looking for a new home for the Centenary exhibit. Antioch
University, which created an exhibit for its Santa Barbara and Los
Angeles campus locations, is opening their exhibit in Ohio in the
fall and plans for three other Antioch locations are in the works.
we donÕt have any money, the Web provides access. That's how we
got the exhibits," says Mickey who contacted 300 museums to find
a director who would take on the expense of printing and framing
an exhibit of 62 of the projectÕs images.
says, "There is a lot of support for Tibet and we set goals and
the help seems to find us. The Website is the core of this effort.
This project is also a natural for a book publisher, so that is
another goal. There will be more films and exhibits. It is crucial
to the survival of the Tibetan culture that the Tibetans find new
ways to keep telling the world about their tragedy and this effort,
in some small way, hopes to add to the continuation of the voice
from the Tibetans."
you everyone. Visually and respectfully, Joe Mickey and Sazzy Varga,
you forward our e-newsletters, you also help grow this voice from
the Tibetan community in exile.
who can and have donated money, all know how far every penny goes
in making this all happen. And because we are not a nonprofit, we
know you are giving even when there are no tax benefits.
gallery's of Wangden work can be seen at
Gallery #13, Gallery # 19,
Gallery #13, Gallery #19, Gallery
#23, and Gallery #25, as well
as in Gallery #34 which has photos
from the work in progress screening . We hope you will also enjoy
the journal entries on the making of "Voices in Exile" which we
documented in The Diary
To keep up with this film please write firstname.lastname@example.org
and his wife.