I am so delighted to say that the month of January, which we celebrated as ‘Renaissance Month’, was a huge success in many aspects! Film nights and engaging discussions were hosted by various SFT University Chapters in Toronto. All the SFT members from the chapters put great efforts into planning the film nights, and screening three Tibetan Documentaries: Prayers Answered at University of Toronto, Leaving Fear Behind at Ryerson University and Tibet in Song at York University.
For me personally, Tibet in Song touched me deeply. As someone who has performed and been involved in helping sustain Tibetan cultural songs and dances, this was a documentary that resonated with me.
Imagine the following:
You are 7 years old and your favourite hobby is to sing and dance. Now fast forward 30 years into your future, your passion and love of music has grown and you decide to go back home to your country to learn more and help preserve your culture, only to be thrown in jail and accused of “spying” and “threatening” the government a few months into your visit. This is basically what happened to Ngawang Choephel minus the part about starting at the age of 7. That’s just me. Me because throughout the movie I was imagining myself in his position. The more I thought about his life and how he was severely punished for no legitimate reason, let alone political or criminal, the more I wondered about the threat China poses to Tibetan culture and arts.
This was one of the three movies that were screened and discussed during Renaissance month. I’ve learned a lot from the film nights during the month of January. That you can feel empowered by taking the initiative to watch, read and learn more about Tibet. We had amazing guest speakers as well, including the voice behind High Peaks Pure Earth Blog, Dechen Pembala who was actually directly involved in the successful sneaking out of the tapes recorded by Dhondup Wangchen in Leaving Fear Behind.
The attendance exceeded our expectations and the guest speakers added to the beautiful messages delivered by all three documentaries.
Thank You to everyone who came out and supported us as well as the new faces we look forward to seeing more of!
In Solidarity and Peace,