As I watched Ngawang Choephel's story unfold in his documentary Tibet in Song, his brave journey captivated me with the gorgeous images and sounds of Tibet, and the struggles of cultural oppression caused by the Chinese occupation. Ngawang's return to his homeland, where he went in search of the survival of traditional Tibetan folk music, ultimately resulted in his imprisonment by the Chinese. Although half of his film footage was confiscated, the other half was safely rescued by a friend, and today Ngawang's story speaks triumphantly on screen. He now makes his home in New York City and his quest to preserve the voices and songs of traditional Tibetan folk music continues.
Closer to home, another voice spoke through film in the exposé, Broadcast Blues, written, produced and directed by investigative journalist, Sue Wilson. Sue attended the screening and provided a lively discussion after the movie. Her evocative documentary chronicles the power that corporate media in the United States yields, and how the American public has lost control and access to a vital piece of their democracy—the air waves. Not only does the story she tells expose the erosion of the media and the public's access to the facts, but proposes sweeping changes in the interest of the public to take the media back.
We all follow different paths, depending on the issues that are important to us personally. Through the language of film, we can learn from one another; these were just a few of the stories that spoke to me.
As day 3 of the festival begins, once again I look to the screen.