UNA-NY Screening the Issues

Please join us for this special one-night screening
followed by an open discussion with our honored guest

Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari
The exiled Dharma King of Tibet


Holly Carter
Founder and Executive Director of BYkids

Monday, June 7, 2010
6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Reception (with cash bar)
Screening begins promptly at 7:00 p.m.

The Tribeca Grand Hotel
2 Avenue of the Americas (between White and Walker Streets)
New York, NY

Ambassador Cesare Ragaglini

From left: Holly Carter, Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari, Dirk Simon. / Photo: Patrick McMullan

Songsten Gampo, the first Dharma King of Tibet, died in 698 A.D. In 2004, his only living descendant was coronated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the age of 12. Five years later, the teenaged Tibetan King sets out to tell his story and the story of a whole generation of young Tibetans struggling to retain their traditional culture in the face of persecution.

The King of Tibet, living in exile in Dharamsala in Northern India, is the 17-year-old Namgyal Wangchuk Trichen Lhagyari. As the only recognized descendent of the first Dharma King of Tibet, Namgyal carries the unique responsibility of representing Tibet's unbroken history and heritage. Yet, as a teenager, he also represents a new generation of young Tibetans who are caught between the peaceful traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and a desperate desire to fight for the freedom of their people. These young Tibetans speak about the slow obliteration of their very identity — their livelihoods, their right to choose where they live, their ability to be educated in their languages — and the stark choice they face of either remaining in Tibetan areas under these constraints or seeking to flee to other countries.

BYkids is a non-profit organization that pairs mentoring American filmmakers with youth (ages 8-21) from around the world to create short documentaries about their lives. BYkids uses the power of film to influence the way Americans see the world — and the way the world sees us — to create global understanding and a catalyst for action.

BYkids film mentor Dirk Simon worked with Namgyal in 2008 to help him tell his emblematic story through film. The young king demonstrated a quick mastery of the craft of filmmaking, conducting the film's interviews and narrating his footage in both Tibetan and English. Dirk met Namgyal in Dharamsala in 2004 during the young boy's coronation ceremony, presided over by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The previous Dharma King of Tibet, Namgyal's father, had died just a year earlier. He had been incarcerated by the Chinese authorities for 20 years and struggled for the survival of his lineage.

Dirk describes the young king as carrying the vision of two worlds: the one-thousand-year-old heritage of Tibet's Dharma Kings and the current struggle of a people striving to survive under repression, abuse and ethnic genocide. "With his devotion to the principles of Tibetan Buddhism, his kindness and modesty, he touches the heart of everyone who meets him."

Please NOTE: the shorter running time of this film program is approximately 30 minutes.

Watch the trailer for MY COUNTRY IS TIBET

Visit the BYkids website

UNA-NY is grateful for the generosity of the Tribeca Grand Hotel, for allowing our organization the consistent booking of their state of the art screening room for our film-talk series, Screening the Issues.


Nearest subway stations to access the Tribeca Grand Hotel area:
Canal Street station: A, E, C trains
Franklin Street station: No. 1 train

Also close, but requires a little walk:
Canal Street Station station: N, Q, R, W trains

View the Tribeca Grand Hotel neighborhood map and more directions