We are particularly delighted to be presenting the second International Buddhist Film Festival in the Bay Area. Home to many of us at the IBFF, it’s a fertile territory for many diverse approaches to addressing the challenging questions of these complicated times. And it’s a film-lover’s paradise—independents and moguls, creative exhibitors, archives and schools, and many film festivals.

For its part, the IBFF has become known for promoting awareness of the great diversity of Buddhist cultures and experiences around the world, and the lineup of films on display here is a perfect demonstration. These are films for anyone interested in good filmmaking and stories from the heart. Sample freely and experience the wide world of cinema that explores these themes of wisdom and compassion.

Passes or tickets to screenings can be ordered online, by calling 925.275.9005 or by fax or mail (download an order form). Ticket office hours are 1/10–1/28, Monday–Friday, 9 am–4 pm and 1/29–2/12, Monday–Sunday, 9 am–4 pm.

Director Liliana Cavani invited

1/28–7:30 pm–MILA28C–Castro
2/03–7:30 pm–MILA03W–Wheeler
2/10–7:30 pm–MILA10R–Rafael

This rare film chronicles a famous 11th century Tibetan sinner/saint in an ambitious story set first in a contemporary Italy. Milarepa’s was an epic life that has been an inspiration for nearly a millennium. Produced twenty years before Scorsese’s Kundun and Bertolucci’s Little Buddha by Italian director Liliana Cavani (known for The Night Porter and Ripley’s Game). (French with English subtitles) Italy, 1974, 108 min, print source: Cinecitta’ Holding

co-presenter: San Francisco Italian Institute of Culture

Director Martin Scorsese invited

2/08–7:30 pm–KUND08W–Wheeler

Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough portrait of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama; Orville Schell moderates a panel afterwards with scholars Donald Lopez and Georges Dreyfus; part of the “Speaking for the Buddha? Buddhism and the Media” conference. USA, 1997, 135 min

UC Berkeley students admitted free with current student i.d. Co-presenter: Institute of East Asian Studies and the Center for Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley

This is one of the most active and fertile areas in the country for creative cinema of all kinds, from experimental and documentary to dramatic features and cutting edge computer animation, from determined independents to world-class studios. We’re delighted to present four powerful works from local award-winning filmmakers.

Daughters of Everest
Destroyer of Illusion
Dreaming of Tibet
Visioning Tibet

co-presenter: Bay Area Video Coalition

The IBFF chooses released works that have not previously been specifically identified with a Buddhist theme or idea or reference, but that in the context of the festival make complete sense. These can include films that intentionally explored these themes, or even films from which these themes can just reasonably be inferred. The Q&A afterwards can be very spirited.

Dead Man
Rivers and Tides

Five compelling features from Korea are presented with the collaboration of the Korean Film Commission. The works span the full history of the sophisticated Korean film arena, from a rare pre-Korean War independent to a recent studio hit, and cover a satisfying range of emotions and meaning through drama and comedy. Curated by Darcy Paquet.

Beyond the Mountain
Hi! Dharma
Hometown of the Heart
Passage to Buddha

co-presenter: SF International Asian American Film Festival

Director Sutape Tunnirat invited

1/30–8:45 pm–ANGU30C–Castro
2/11–9:30 pm–ANGU11R–Rafael
2/13–8:45 pm–ANGU13W–Wheeler

US PREMIERE— The early Buddhist scripture story of a bandit/killer who meets the Buddha on the road, fearlessly and inspiringly told in this ambitious and entertaining Thai feature. This is about the power of delusion. (Thai with English subtitles) Thailand, 2003, 105 min

Beyond the Mountain
Director Chung Ji-young
Producer/Co-star invited

1/29–4:00 pm–BEYO29C–Castro
2/04–7:00 pm–BEYO04W–Wheeler
2/11–7:00 pm–BEYO11R–Rafael

US PREMIERE— A striking story set in an idyllic Buddhist hermitage and a nearby convent nestled deep in the Korean mountains. The serenity is threatened by passions within and tensions from outside. (Korean with English subtitles) Korea, 1991, 108 min

co-presenter: SF International Asian American Film Festival

Buddha’s Painter
Director Thomas Gonschior in person

2/13–2:00 pm–BUDD13W–Wheeler

US PREMIERE— A finely realized profile of a master thangkha painter and social visionary who spearheads a revival of traditional Buddhist painting in Mongolia. Under his direction, the students transcend technique and give rise to the sacred. (Mongolian with English subtitles) Germany, 2004, 55 min

Chasing Buddha
Director Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Venerable Robina Courtin expected to attend

1/29–2:00 pm–CHAS29C–Castro
2/05–2:00 pm–CHAS05W–Wheeler
2/13–2:00 pm–CHAS13R–Rafael

A hard-edged, kindhearted former feminist street drifter, SF-based Robina Courtin is now a Buddhist nun who works with addicts, misfits, and prisoners. A gutsy and vibrant film shot by then teenage Amiel Courtin-Wilson. Australia, 2000, 52 min

co-presenter: Prison Liberation Project

The Cup
Director Khyentse Norbu

2/06–2:00 pm–CUP06W–Wheeler

Young Tibetan monks in a monastery in India obsess over World Cup soccer in this brilliant and funny debut by Khyentse Norbu, the director profiled in Words of My Perfect Teacher (see below). Several of the actors are actually Tibetan Buddhist teachers of note, and the whole film radiates warmth and reality. (Tibetan with English subtitles) India, 1999, 93 min

Daughters of Everest
Director Sapana Sakya expected to attend

2/06–4:00 pm–DAUG06W–Wheeler

The first Sherpa women expedition to conquer Everest is filmed here with insight and warmth by Nepalese director Sapana Sakya. These courageous and determined women battle the outer elements and engage the far vaster terrain of inner struggle. (Nepalese with English subtitles) Nepal, 2003, 56 min

co-presenter: Bay Area Video Coalition and EKTA

A Day Under the Bodhi Tree
Director Udi Mandel

2/12–4:00 pm–ROAD12R–Rafael
2/13–4:00 pm–MYLI13W–Wheeler

WORLD PREMIERE— Impressionistic experience of pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, India, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the place most sacred to Buddhists around the globe. If you can’t make the journey—it is still remote—let this film transport you there with pilgrims of every kind who visit, light candles, circumnambulate and pray from dawn into the night. India/UK, 2004, 22 min

Dead Man
Director Jim Jarmusch invited
Composer Neil Young invited

1/29–9:15 pm–DEAD29C–Castro
2/05–9:00 pm–DEAD05W–Wheeler
2/12–8:45 pm–DEAD12R–Rafael

Johnny Depp plays a 19th century greenhorn from the east who heads west by train. His journey takes a turn from civilization to a nebulous realm of Native American spirit, and reality seems to slip away. With Robert Mitchum, John Hurt, Gabriel Byrne, and Gary Farmer as Nobody. Soundtrack by Neil Young. USA, 1995, 121 min

Destroyer of Illusion
Director Rick Kohn

1/30–2:00 pm–DEST30C–Castro
2/05–4:00 pm–DEST05W–Wheeler
2/12–2:00 pm–DEST12R–Rafael

THEATRICAL PREMIERE— Unprecedented access and intimate knowledge inform this richly detailed and beautifully filmed portrait of a secret Tibetan Buddhist ritual. Richard Gere narrates with the clarity and resonant depth of an insider. A very special opportunity to observe a private realm—an incredible journey. The director, the late Rick Kohn, was a Berkeley-based Buddhist scholar and curator. Switzerland, 1991, 57 min

co-presenter: Bay Area Video Coalition

Dreaming of Tibet
Director Will Parinello in person

2/13–4:00 pm–LION13R–Rafael

Tibetan exiles make new lives in new lands, surviving and even flourishing in the face of adversity. Focusing on three vibrant Tibetans, the film explores a “virtual” Tibet. Filmed on location in the Himalayas and the US, with narration by Peter Coyote. USA, 2003, 58 min

co-presenter: Bay Area Video Coalition, EKTA, and Human Rights Watch

Director Im Kwon-taek

2/12–9:00 pm–FEST12W–Wheeler

BAY AREA PREMIERE— Im Kwon-taek is Korea’s best known director; his Mandala and Aje Aje Bara Aje are classics. Here he lovingly films a mother’s funeral, and the traditional Buddhist ceremony brings hope for reconciliation. (Korean with English subtitles) Korea, 1996, 108 min

co-presenter: SF International Asian American Film Festival

Hi! Dharma
Director Kwan Park invited

1/30–4:00 pm–DHAR30C–Castro
2/10–7:30 pm–DHAR10W–Wheeler
2/12–6:30 pm–DHAR12R–Rafael

US PREMIERE at IBFF 2003 LA— Gangsters on the run in contemporary Korea find sanctuary in a Korean monastery with surprising effects on all involved. This well executed and very funny comedy doesn’t take its zen lightly. Starring Shin-yang Park, with Jin-yeong Jeong, Sang-Myeon Park, Seong-jin Kang, Su-ro Kim and Kyoung-In Hong. Korea, 2001, 95 min

co-presenter: SF International Asian American Film Festival

Hometown of the Heart
Director Yun Yong-gyu

2/05–6:30 pm–HOME05W–Wheeler

BAY AREA PREMIERE— One of only two Korean films made before the Korean War to have survived, this film immerses us in the life of a small monastery and is very much about family. New print, with new subtitles. (Korean with English subtitles) Korea, 1949, 74 min

co-presenter: SF International Asian American Film Festival

I [Heart] Huckabees Infomercial
Director David O. Russell expected to attend

1/29–6:30 pm–WORD29C–Castro
2/04–9:00 pm–WORD04W–Wheeler
2/13–8:45 pm–WORD13R–Rafael

THEATRICAL PREMIERE— Featuring noted Tibet scholar Dr. Robert Thurman as himself, with Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin (in character as metaphysical detectives), this mock infomercial explores the humor and references of the recently released I [Heart] Huckabees. USA, 2004, 28 min

Join Me In Shambhala
Director Anya Bernstein expected to attend

2/12–6:30 pm–LION12W–Wheeler

BAY AREA PREMIERE— A Vajrayana teacher returns to Buryatia (Southern Siberia) to revive the Buddhist tradition there; the spirit has somehow survived the long Soviet winter. Narrated by the Rinpoche, this film weaves together textures and rhythms of everyday life with meditations on emptiness and space. Russia, 2002, 29 min

King of the Hill:
Won’t You Pimai Neighbor? episode
Creator Mike Judge
Exec Pro/Writer John Altschuler expected to attend; Exec Pro/Writer Dave Krinsky invited

2/12–2:00 pm–ONEW12W–Wheeler

SF THEATRICAL PREMIERE— We learn more about Buddhism in this 22 minute piece than we do in many a full length feature work. A skillful send-up of the Kundun story of the identification of the young Dalai Lama, this surprising episode, “Won’t You Pimai Neighbor?,” in particular demonstrates the power of good writing and fearless satire. It’s all about love…. USA, 2000, 22 min

The Lion’s Roar
Director Mark Elliot
Producer Kenneth Green expected to attend

2/12–6:30 pm–LION12W–Wheeler
2/13–4:00 pm–LION13R–Rafael

This is a fine, rarely screened portrait of the late 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, the great Tibetan Buddhist master whose lineage, starting in the 13th century, was the first in the Tibetan tradition of reincarnate lamas. It features the late Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche; filmed on location in the US and Sikkim. Narrated by James Coburn. USA, 1985, 50 min

Little Monk
Director Chaille Stovall expected to attend

2/12–6:30 pm–LION12W–Wheeler
2/13–4:00 pm–LION13R–Rafael

BAY AREA PREMIERE— An American boy follows his wonder about the motivations of young Tibetan monks all the way to a monastery in the Himalayan foothills. Filmed on location in India, directed by then 13-year-old Chaille Stovall for HBO. USA, 2002, 30 min

Director Chris McKee

2/05–2:00 pm–CHAS05W–Wheeler
2/13–2:00 pm–BUDD13W–Wheeler

BAY AREA PREMIERE— An accessible and visually compelling meditation on work in the Mongolian countryside—simple, pure, artful craft, using the abundance of nature directly, gathering friends to help; it’s a lived connection to a vast landscape. (Mongolian with English subtitles) Mongolia, 2004, 30 min