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Reviews and Praise for "Dalai Lama Renaissance":


 "SPELLBINDING . . . An uplifting cathartic journey that grips the soul."
"An inspirational revelation for mankind . . . An everlasting awakening of the heart and mind."

 - Actress Diane Ladd (3-time Oscar & Emmy nominee, winner of the British Academy Award, and author of "Spiraling Through the School of Life")


 "Yes I like your questions..."
"Certainly, your effort can make some contribution... there's no doubt."

 - The 14th Dalai Lama - (to "DLR" Producer-Director Khashyar Darvich)


 "I narrated "Dalai Lama Renaissance," because I believe His Holiness is making a positive influence in our world. For me, the film represented an opportunity to continue assisting the optimistic efforts of an extraordinary individual."

 - Harrison Ford - actor, narrator of "Dalai Lama Renaissance"


"a provocative, even enlightening film."

 "fascinating, ravishingly beautiful and sonically soothing."

 - John Griffin - Montreal Gazette (read original review)


 "Marvelous film!"
"Dalai Lama Renaissance reminds us of some most important lessons."

 - Frederick Marx - Co-Filmmaker, "Hoop Dreams," and Academy Award nominee


"a moving form of visual poetry"
"Captures... momentous magic. Applause to the filmmakers for revealing the jewel in the lotus... The film is an intimate and stirring testimony..."

 - Donna Strong - Awareness Magazine


"Dalai Lama Renaissance is a fascinating and inspiring juxtaposition of human nature and transcendence."

 - Thom Hartmann - Air America Radio Host


"The Comedy sensation of the summer is coming soon to a theater near you and the latest laughers from Ben Stiller, Anna Faris or Brad Pitt can't even begin to hold a candle to it. The movie's star? The Dalai Lama

"I can't remember the last time a movie made me laugh so hard. "There are scenes here every bit as comically absurd [as] 'The Life of Brian.' ['Dalai Lama Renaissance'] plays more like a Monty Python parody of new age workshops.

- Rick Kisonak - Film Threat Magazine


  "This is a fine film and worth seeing"

- Jordan Colburn - Hollywood Today (read original review)


"an extraordinary portrait of His Holiness at work."

"Some of the best" comic scenes in any new film out there right now"

- Bob Graham - San Francisco Bay Times (read original review)


 "It is a stunning tour-de-force" 

"intimate glimpse into the Dalai Lama"s life"

 - Amy Wong - LA Yoga Magazine


"This film was startlingly original"

 "a revelatory documentary"

 "a beautiful and fresh window on the Dalai Lama"

 - Jean Miyake Downey - Kyoto Journal (read original review)


"A powerful cinematic documentary… A very moving documentary… unexpected and powerful… Long after it ends, the totality of the documentary lingers, as one contemplates the fact that, if every human being decides to act in the best interest of human kind, we can change the world."

 - Stan Robinson - Screen Scene/Arizona Weekly (read original review)


"Dalai Lama Renaissance is an interesting portrayal of human ego pitted against compassion and altruism, exemplifying the very essence of the issues facing the world today."

 - Todd Mayville - Elephant Journal (read original review)


"Fire up this DVD and prepare to be amazed... The film has a certain persuasive power... Hilarious."

 - Ross Robertson - EnlightenNext Magazine


"The film rapidly grabs hold of you… There is plenty of humor… [a] top-notch comedy… A journey of self-discovery… The lessons of Dalai Lama Renaissance apply just as much to the audience watching this insightful documentary"

 - Ian Bartholomew - Taipei Times, Taiwan (read original review)


"A memorable gathering of elites… an inspiring documentary which depicts the Dalai Lama philosophy of peace… Full of meaning… Powerful."

 - Li Zhao Yang - Pots Newspaper, Taiwan


"A big spiritual harvest for everyone."

 - Qiu Zu - China Times


"No empty seat at the premiere of the documentary ‘Dalai Lama Renaissance… The Taipei premiere has attracted a full house and many people were touched after watching the film."

 - FTV Television, Taiwan


"Dalai Lama Renaissance is full of historical significance… [Harrison] Ford’s strong, deep voice adds much color to the documentary"

 - Zou Nian Zu - Liberty Times Newspaper, Taiwan


"It is indeed inspiring and thought provoking."

"an interesting documentary paying tribute to a fascinating individual."

- YNOT at the Movies (YNOTmovies.blogspot.com) (read original review)


"Unexpected, heartwarming, and enlightening"

"an intimate look at the Dalai Lama's interpersonal actions."

- Christine Benedetti - Aspen Daily News


"Dalai Lama film reveals more than what is on the surface."

"81 minutes of power struggles, flaring egos, and complete love... Hilarious and sobering"

"[an] emotional wallop"

- Stina Sieg - Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Colorado)


Buy the Dalai Lama Renaissance DVD




www.LAyogamagazine.com              February 2008



Review "Dalai Lama Renaissance"

(a documentary by Khashyar Darvich)

 By Amy Wong

LA Yoga magazine - February 2008


When speaking about the work of director Darvich, the venerated Tibetan leader gave high praise: "I like your questions" very good. Certainly, your efforts can make some sort of contribution, there"s no doubt." Renaissance, narrated by Harrison Ford, fulfilled these seemingly prophetic words, winning numerous awards while touring the film festival circuit.

Renaissance documents the 1999 Synthesis Conference held in Dharamsala (the residence of the exiled monk), where 40 of the world"s most prominent thinkers assembled for a week to dialogue about how to solve our planet"s problems. Some participants had especially visible roles in Renaissance, including Your Money of Your Life author Vicki Robbin; prominent quantum physicists and What the Bleep alums Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami; and the nonviolence-promoting interfaith bridge-builder Brother Wayne Teasdale, the whom the film is dedicated (he passed away in 2004).

The Synthesis participants are some of the most intellectual, spiritual and noted people on Earth. Even they displayed misbehaving egos; chaos and dissent ensued even though the setting was the Dalai Lama"s spiritual home. The manner in which Darvich captured the group"s breakdowns, as well as the humorous and skillful way the Synthesis organizers handled them, is a major strength of the film.

"It is a stunning tour-de-force"

Another Renaissance highlight is, of course, the intimate glimpse into the Dalai Lama's life in India, set to an uplifting soundtrack: it is a stunning tour-de-force of Himalayan scenery, prayer wheels, monkeys, monks of all ages and even candid poverty.

Throughout the imagery and stories, it was refreshing to see everyone's humanity. But fitting, since the Dalai Lama, who often refers to himself as just a simple monk, is quoted in the film as saying "we're all equal here." This monk gave a spell-binding and ego-shaking closing conference and film speech in which he reminded the participants that putting all of humanity first and working towards their own inner peace is the only true answer to solving any problem. His sentiments were echoed in a quote from Leo Tolstoy, read by narrator Ford: "Everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself."


Review of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" - Montreal World Film Festival

by John Griffin, Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL - Khashyar Darvich is another serene soul at the fest. Though punchy from the red-eye from L.A. with his co-editor, Robert McFalls, the director-producer of Dalai Lama Renaissance radiates mindful thinking. Maybe it's the subject.

Darvich's fascinating, ravishingly beautiful and sonically soothing documentary concerns a journey made by 40 innovative Western thinkers to the Dalai Lama's home in the Indian Himalayas just before the new millennium. Their mission was nothing less than synthesizing new ways to fix the world. What unfolds isn't what they expected, but what His Holiness had figured all along. Ego. It's a bitch.

Intercut with the New Age-y speech and cat fights are genuine unassuming pearls of wisdom delivered by the chuckling, child-like Dalai Lama, and some accounts of events that led him into exile after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1951. Together, they make a provocative, even enlightening, film.

"I had done an earlier interview with the Dalai Lama and was recommended to this group. I had less than eight weeks to find a crew of 18, secure financing, and make the hard trip through India in the rainy season to a place where the power went out every five hours."

Miraculously, Darvich shot 140 hours of film which he and McFalls whittled down to 80 minutes. Harrison Ford narrates.

"Everyone has the ability to make the world better. The only way this film was worth all the time and effort was to have it serve humanity and the world."

Dalai Lama Renaissance screens at Quartier Latin today at 4 p.m. and tomorrow at 5:40 p.m.

click here for scanned image of original article from newspaper

click here for original article



Review of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" - Kyoto Journal

The "Tibet Within" " DALAI LAMA RENAISSANCE " at Global Peace Film Festival Japan Oct 5-7

by Jean Miyake Downey, Kyoto Journal

DALAI LAMA RENAISSANCE will be one of the films screened at the Global Peace Film Festival Japan Oct 5-7 in Koshinomiyako. The trailer is wonderful to view, if you can't get to one of the festivals showing this film.

This is a revelatory documentary about the "Everyman" journey from egocentric consciousness to something more sublime. The film follows forty global experts in their fields who traveled to Dharamsala to advise the Dalai Lama. The first scenes reveal a hilariously clashing hootenanny of mild-mannered Engaged Buddhists, solemn Catholics, gabby physicists intent on demonstrating the convergence of quantum physics with ultimate reality, New Agers dressed in purple, social change visionaries, and progressive economists, all engaged in "synthesizing" and "witnessing" brain-storming to collect all their brilliant ideas to present to the fourteenth Dalai Lama. This well-educated and well-mannered group then revolted against their endlessly patient facilitators, in a gray-haired inverse variation of the "Lord of the Flies." Throughout the chaos that ensued, each player was shown as confronting her or his own ego, as much as they confronted the facilitators and fellow participants. Their conflicts with each other, and most of all, with their own egos were actually uplifting, as they struggled to be truthful and respectful while their "bubbling over" clashed with the facilitators' attempts to create some order out of the unwieldy explosion of dialogue.

Then something broke open.

Tenzin Gyatso, who kept referred to himself as nothing but a "simple monk," spoke." And, what he said, and the way he said it sounded like a clear, clear bell that shattered all the clashing mental abstractions, and brought attention back to the human level... I thought I was viewing a shaktipat moment as I saw the transformations of the participants simply becoming more of who they really are, as whatever was obscuring their inner radiance fell away. i actually felt as if I was feeling some of that myself, as if these wonderful shaktipat energies were emanating from the small movie screen I was watching, to me, my friend who was watching with me, and all the people around us.

Compassion. Joy. Happiness. Even while suffering in participation and/or witness with and struggling to address the world's problems.

This is a beautiful and fresh window on the Dalai Lama, and what we in the world who care can do for Tibet and Tibetans. Before the film started, I was apprehensive I would hear all the same-old records about the plight of Tibetan Buddhists, and although I support the Dalai Lama's and all Tibetans cause, from the bottom of my heart, I can't help but partly tune out when I hear the worn-out views. However, this film was startlingly original. I know so many of Tenzin Gyatso's words by heart by now, but in this documentary, it all sounded so new to me, as if hearing his wisdom for the first time.

To share with my media friends, I wrote what the Dalai Lama said media people ought to aim for in their writing: "to promote clearly basic human values." He spoke about supporting and loving Chinese people, at the same time supporters of Tibet encourage the Chinese government to open to rapprochement towards a win-win solution for Tibetans and Chinese. It's not either-or, except at the level of egocentricity, in his view. As Einstein said, we can't solve problems at the same level of consciousness that created them.

Some of the participants talked about the importance of our getting in touch with our "Inner Tibets." I disagreed with the view that we have a choice of addressing either an 'inner" or "outer" Tibet. I have always believed that profound personal journeys go in both directions, and I see many "Tibets" throughout the world, as well as within every person.

My friend Morley Robertson also talks about the 'Tibet Within" in an original, fresh, and beautiful way at his start-up experimental multiple media (video, music, and diary) blog on travels through Tibet, TIBETRONICA:

"This web site "Tibetronica" will also be a journey along the time axis. Various ideas will evolve from scratch and become embodied through experimentation and research, finally into a complete (or incomplete) piece. I aim to make the entire process as transparent as I can. Trying to break away from clich"s and my own preconceptions about Tibet, I will carry on with my experiments.

"The early phase of this project will be an attempt to travel to the 'Tibet within'. If there is indeed a secret land inside, I would like to look for it, before I leave home for the Tibet that is far away."

The journey and film also reminded me of Rodger Kamenetz' The Jew in the Lotus, his allegorical account of the 1990 pilgrimage that a group of American Jewish leaders made to Dharamsala to advise the Dalai Lama on how to support the survival of Tibetans and Tibetan culture in indefinite exile. Their archetypal journey led to much more than the ostensible goals they were seeking, as well, for both the Tibetans and the Jewish teachers involved, and for so many who were touched by the ripple effects of their experience. Kamenetz himself has morphed from a nervous on-the-sidelines chronicler of the Tibetan-Jewish pilgrimage to a guide of the inner pilgrimage, in his new book released this fall, The History of Last Night's Dream, a luminous book infused with Tibetan, kabbalistic, and Jungian wisdom, also with fascinating reader input gleaned from Rodger's wonderful blog, Talking Dream.

Om mani padme hum.


click here for original article



"This is a fine film and worth seeing"


Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Simple Monk, "The Dalai Lama Renaissance", a film by Khashyar Darvich, narrated by Harrison Ford

By Jordan Colburn

HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 5/18/08 " We welcomed the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama "up close and personal",  to better understand why he commands such presence and respect worldwide.

All we had to go on were some sound bites and very brief reports of the possible confrontation between Tibet and China, especially with the protests against China and their handling of Tibet, which played out in many counties in the last month during the Olympic Games Torch Relay. So I was excited to have an opportunity to view this award winning film, which Premiers Nationally at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco May 23, 2008. It also seemed interesting because the film is narrated by actor Harrison Ford, whose 4th "Indian Jones" movie opens on May 22nd.

At the edge of the Millennium, His Holiness, The Dalai Lama of Tibet invited 40 of the West"s leading, most innovative thinkers in their respective fields to his residence tucked away in the Himalayan mountains of Northern India to discuss the world"s problems and how we can solve them.

What transpired was unexpected and powerful, and was captured by an 18 person, 5 camera film crew. The Wakan Foundation for the Arts took its 18 person crew to India and shot more than 140 hours of video footage during the week-long meeting and exploration of the future of mankind" enough gripping and beautiful footage to make a powerful and cinematic documentary. The resulting feature-length documentary, "Dalai Lama Renaissance," has already received a very positive response, and 11 International Film Awards, and will be widely released and distributed in the second half of 2008.  The film features Quantum Physicists Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Goswami (from "What the Bleep Do We Know"), Dr. Michael Beckwith (from " The Secret"), Revolutionary Social Scientist Jean Houston, and several other luminaries. The film has beautifully filmed exotic scenery and Tibetan and Indian culture as a backdrop to this important meeting.

On the fourth day, a proposal to apply the ethical and spiritual principals from each discipline to applying pressure on China to allow for a free Tibet. The Dalai Lama cautioned everyone that positive change meant not harming anyone, even thousands of Chinese that may be affected by such an economic boycott.

"This is a fine film and worth seeing"

The bottom line is that we all have to "free the Tibets" within ourselves and promote human basic values.

The film allowed me to see a warm, friendly, wise, patient, astute man, who has a wonderful sense of humor and to learn why he is so respected.

 As he says,"He is after all, "a simple Buddhist Monk".

This is a fine film and worth seeing.

Original article can be found here





"an extraordinary portrait of His Holiness at work."

"Some of the best" comic scenes in any new film out there right now"


 A Humorous Dalai Lama Renaissance

 By Bob Graham
Published: May 22, 2008


Some of the best - if unintentional - comic scenes in any new film out there right now come from an unlikely source, a documentary about the Dalai Lama. Strictly speaking, Dalai Lama Renaissance, as it"s called, is not about the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, but he is certainly the key figure. The documentary deals with a week-long brainstorming session of self-styled global thinkers who had no doubt they could put their heads together, collectively come up with a means to "transform the world"" and present it to the Dalai Lama.

 It is just possible that the Dalai Lama is already aware of at least one such means of transforming the world, but they were intent upon giving him their own ideas anyway. About 40 of them made a pilgrimage, with the Dalai Lama"s blessing, to his compound in northern India to formulate "a solution to some of the world"s problems"" and identify "the transitions we must make if we"re going to survive."" Lots of luck.

 Sometimes exhibiting more ego than brains, however, these great thinkers could not even agree on a format for their discussions, or "syntheses,"" as they preferred to call them, let alone solutions. Variously bickering, interrupting, show-boating or simply lost in wishful thinking, the participants on one occasion even completely misinterpreted what the Dalai Lama had just told them. The Dalai Lama appeared to be the only sane person in the room.

 "Sometimes brilliant minds are like thin-shelled eggs,"" one observer put it. "They can crack easily."" A participant in one pointed discussion, apparently mindful of the auspices, declared, "I"d like to feel a little compassion here.""

"an extraordinary portrait of His Holiness at work."

 It was left for the Dalai Lama himself to bring the foundering gathering into focus, and at this point the documentary, from filmmaker Khashyar Darvich, shifts gears and becomes an extraordinary portrait of His Holiness at work. The Dalai Lama"s compassion extends to all, including self-deluded intellectuals.

 Participants in the group included, by my count, at least two quantum physicists, writers, a psychiatrist, religious scholars and so forth, but for all their exalted status they could be reduced to wannabe Dalai Lama groupies, and no wonder. The Dalai Lama, from the moment he hops out of the back seat of a workaday car, is buoyant, cheerful and very canny.

 When one participant asked if he would support an economic boycott of China, the Dalai Lama gave a thorough answer that included the statement that humanity was the "No. 1"" consideration and "harming China"s economy would do no good."" Nonetheless, most members of the group didn"t seem to understand that he was saying "no."" One woman displayed her Chinese-made shoes and volunteered to stop buying them. The documentary actually had to spell out in the final credits that "the Dalai Lama does not support an economic boycott of China."" Another participant wanted him to assume the mantle of "leadership"" of a world movement, which he also refused, saying he wished to remain a simple Buddhist monk.

 Dalai Lama Renaissance will be shown at the Roxie, at 16th and Valencia in the Mission District, beginning Friday, May 23. It is narrated by actor Harrison Ford, whose ex-wife was prominent in American Buddhist circles. Ford"s participation was a giveaway that the film would go beyond the initial dysfunction of the group, however comic.

 What makes them so comic is how seriously they take themselves. The Dalai Lama, who must teach by example, is the one with the sense of humor.

 Original article can be found here



"It is indeed inspiring and thought provoking."

"an interesting documentary paying tribute to a fascinating individual."


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Dalai Lama Renaissance


Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, perhaps is one of the most recognizable and most controversial figures today. Who is he? What is his teaching? What is his view on the current issues we are facing in the world?

Although the documentary "Dalai Lama Renaissance" (USA 2007, 81 min.) does not answer all of these questions, it does give an up close profile to this extraordinary and complex individual.

In 1999, 40 westerners with different religion background, disciplines, and of course, point of views, travel to India to meet the Dalai Lama at his residence. Their goal is to discuss many problems in the world we are facing today and gain perspectives through the direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Before they begin a discussion with the Dalai Lama during a limited time each day, these westerns debate and discuss among themselves trying to come up some kind of consensus about how to present their views to the Dalai Lama and how to proceed the dialogue. This film captures their spiritual journey, as well the Dalai Lama's teaching.

In places like Germany, the Dalai Lama's undeniable charisma and likeable personality make himself more popular than the pope as a religious leader, and a respectable spiritual inspiration to many. Many footage of his teaching in this film effectively shows the Dalai Lama's passion for humanity as well as his wit and insight toward spirituality. He tells his audience to open heart and embrace the spirituality inside ourselves with or without any religious faith; and to achieve the inner peace within ourselves.

"It is indeed inspiring and thought provoking."

It is indeed inspiring and thought provoking.

It is also very interesting to observe how the 40 western participants react and interpret the Dalai Lama's teaching, and how naive some of them are by expecting that the Dalai Lama will give them solutions to the problems in the world. Many of the participants express themselves and their rewarding experience eloquently. Some of the participants obviously have the intention of using this meeting to get a vindication on their own political agenda from the Dalai Lama. Some others simply expose themselves for how ignorant and close minded they are even after the teaching from the Dalai Lama.

Understandably, the filmmaker expresses his own point of view about the history and politics in Tibet, without necessarily reflecting the actual Tibetan history. To portrait the Dalai Lama as a victim of the Chinese government is anything but the truth.

That's the tricky point when it comes to understand the Dalai Lama's role.

The Dalai Lama is an almighty figure when he comes to be a religious and a humanitarian leader. He would have been embraced by the Chinese government if he dedicates himself to that role, which inspires millions of people around the world. However, he is also a politician, especially when he presents himself to the Chinese government and the Chinese people. By playing both roles, the Dalai Lama is able to mobilize the western media in his support to deal with the Chinese government, because to the westerners, he appears to be a religious and a spiritual leader. As a consequence, he becomes ambiguous and perplex when it comes to sensitive issues such as how to deal with the Chinese government.

This dilemma shows dramatically in the film when an anti-Chinese government participant ask the Dalai Lama specifically if the Dalai Lama would approve an economical sanction against China over the issue of Tibet. The Dalai Lama first expresses his concern that such action will harm the welfare of the Chinese people, including Tibetan people. He emphasizes that people should not take any action to harm the Chinese people. Therefore, the logical answer one might think is that he does not approve such an action, right? Yet, he refuses to give an straight answer to that simple question. He winkes with a smile. What he preaches does not apply here any more. Strange? Not for a politician. Isn't the idea of "separation of church and state" absolutely brilliant?

"an interesting documentary paying tribute to a fascinating individual."

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" is an interesting documentary paying tribute to a fascinating individual. It opens on May 23 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.


Original article can be found here




German Review of "Dalai Lama Renaissance":



Dalai Lama Renaissance

von voltage @ 2008-09-16 - 13:05:54

Filmstart: 30.10.2008
Originaltitel: Dalai Lama Renaissance
FSK: ohne Altersbeschr'nkung
Verleih: Horizon
Laufzeit: 81 Minuten
Trailer: Klick hier
Regie: Khashyar Darvich
Mitwirkende: Dalai Lama, Fred Alan Wolf, Amit Goswami, Brother Wayne Teasdale, Vicki Robin, Barbara Fields, Brian Muldoon


Inhalt: Der Dalai Lama lud 40 Wissenschaftler der 'westlichen Welt', die in ihrem Gebiet entweder als bahnbrechend beziehungsweise f'hrend gelten, zu einer Reise nach Indien ein. Dort werden sie die 'Synthesis Group' bilden, die nach der Maxime 'Gemeinwohl' Ma'nahmen zur Verbesserung der Welt diskutieren soll. Diese Reise wird jedoch nicht nur einen wissenschaftlichen Wert haben, sondern die Teilnehmer vielmehr auf einen spirituellen Trip durch den Himalaja schicken: Bevor die Gruppe den Dalai Lama trifft, reist diese durch dessen Exil. Die Eindr'cke einer faszinierenden Landschaft sollen die Wissenschaftler von allen westlichen 'Zw'ngen' befreien und diese f'r die 'Synthesis Group' sensibilisieren.
Doch schnell beginnen Konflikte, das fragile Konstrukt auseinanderbrechen zu lassen. Pers'nliche Interessen der Wissenschaftler treten in den Vordergrund und schnell fallen viele der Teilnehmer in ihre alte Rolle des 'westlichen Denkers' zur'ck, noch bevor der Dalai Lama 'berhaupt zu ihnen hinzust''t. Doch schlie'lich tritt der Gastgeber auf den Plan und ver'ndert das Denken der Gruppe, sowie deren Stimmung grundlegend.


Unsere Meinung: Der Film des US-Regisseurs Khashyar Darvich zeigt in hervorragender Weise die Vorz'ge und Schw'chen des Menschen. Die im Film gezeigten Wissenschaftler streben danach Gro'es zu vollbringen, was zwar zur Beseitigung wichtiger Probleme der Menschheit beitr'gt, andererseits aber auch einen unb'ndigen Trieb ausl'st sich beweisen zu m'ssen, st'rker und besser zu sein als andere. Der Dalai Lama hingegen, scheint diesen Trieb nicht zu besitzen. Er zeigt sich als besonnener Beobachter, als Berater. So lehnt er es beispielsweise ab der 'Synthesis Group' vorzustehen. Er sieht sich vielmehr als gleichrangiges Teil des Ganzen.
Die facettenreichen und aussagekr'ftigen Bilder runden den Film ab. Zum einen kommt hier die unverwechselbare Landschaft Indiens zum Vorschein, auf der anderen Seite werden gesellschaftliche Probleme wie Armut verdeutlicht. Dem Betrachter wird 'u'erst pr'gnant der Unterschied zwischen materiellem und ideellem Reichtum nahegebracht, deren Wertsch'tzung sich im buddhistischem Tibet im Gegensatz zur 'westlichen Welt' v'llig anders verh'lt.


Fazit: Mit 'Dalai Lama Renaissance' ist Darvich ein mitrei'ender Dokumentarfilm gelungen, der den Zuschauer mit auf die abenteuerliche und teils beschwerliche Reise der 'Synthesis Group' nimmt. Einziges Manko: Auf das zu h'ufige Schwingen der 'Moralkeule' konnte hier und da nicht verzichtet werden. 75 von 100 Punkten.






Victoria Film Festival "08 Interview "

Dalai Lama Renaissance director Khashyar Darvich

by Jason Whyte

efilmcritic.com - January 2008

Dalai Lama Renaissance - At the Victoria Film Festival

"Dalai Lama Renaissance is an 80 minute documentary film about forty of the world"s most innovative thinkers who travel to India in the Himalayan Mountains to meet with the Dalai Lama to solve many of the world"s problems. What happened was surprising and unexpected. Narrated by actor Harrison Ford, the film also features Quantum Physicists Fred Alan Wolf and Amit Gowami from "What the Bleep Do We Know," and Michel Beckwith and Fred Alan Wolf from "the Secret." Winner of 9 awards at film festivals around the world, it is the official selection of over 30 international film festivals." Director Khashyar Darvich on "Dalai Lama Renaissance" which screens at this year"s Victoria Film Festival.

So you"re in a conversation with someone you haven"t met before at the Victoria fest and they ask if you have a film in the festival. What do you tell them to get them to come see your film? What"s your hook?

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" features intimate, personal moments with the Dalai Lama, and is narrated by Harrison Ford. It was filmed with 5 cameramen in the Dalai Lama"s residence in India, and I have been told that "Dalai Lama Renaissance" gives audiences a very unique and intimate experience with the Dalai Lama. One executive of a major Hollywood studio told me that he has seen many films about and with the Dalai Lama, but that "Dalai Lama Renaissance" gives the audience the most intimate and direct experience of him of any other film about him. I have been told that you through the film, you feel that you have spent some time with the Dalai Lama. The film has played to sold out audiences around the world, and after almost every screening of the film, people in the audience come up to me and express how the film has deeply and profoundly impacted their lives.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and what led you to wanting to make films.

From an early age, I wanted to express myself through writing, and to communicate through words. I was raised in a small college town in Oxford, Ohio, began writing poetry and screenplays, and then became a newspaper reporter. While producing one of my film scripts, I was given the opportunity to produce and direct a documentary film about a Colorado Rocky Mountain town that was broadcast on the History Channel and PBS stations. I realized that film was a way to impact people in the most powerful way possible, and what became most satisfying for me was to produce and direct films that really touch and impact and even transform audiences in a positive way. I felt that at the end of my life, when I am lying on my deathbed, I want to feel that I did something that was truly worthwhile and that left the world at least a little bit better than when I was entered the world.

Tell me about how this production came together and how the film was made.

I had always found the Dalai Lama one of the most inspiring figures for peace in the world, and a sincere spiritually accomplished person who is making a great positive impact on the world. I had interviewed the Dalai Lama for an earlier documentary film about peace, and the Organizers of the meeting with the Dalai Lama (that later was featured "Dalai Lama Renaissance") had heard of my previous work with him, and invited me to produce and direct a documentary film about the trip and event. I had only 8 weeks to find a crew of 18 to travel to India to shoot the event.

Please tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film"s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.

We actually had 5 different camera men and women on the trip and during production, and I could not be with every cameraman and woman during all of the events that were taking place. I gave each cameraperson directions as to what we wanted to capture and the heart of the story, and then trusted them based on their professional artist sense to capture the interviews and story elements and images that were necessary. We shot a total of 140 hours of footage, and I really didn"t realize the footage that we had until we returned to the United States and I watched all 140 hours of footage. It was only after I watched all 140 hours of videotape, that I understood the heart and structure of the film"s story.

Out of the entire production, what was the most difficult aspect of making this film? Also, what was the most pleasurable moment?

The most difficult part of this production was post production, because to create the very best film, I had to personally watch and write detailed notes on all 140 hours of footage, and then discover what the story and allow the film to emerge in an organic and natural way. Another difficult aspect was to maintain objectivity during editing (since I was also the film"s director and main producer), and be able to see the film in a fresh way and through the eyes of a first time viewer. Test screenings really helped with understanding how audiences saw the film, and what was working and what needed adjusting.

There were several pleasurable aspects of the production, including interviewing the Dalai Lama (who has a very real and profound palpable presence about him), as well as watching the footage and discovering a remarkable moment or shot or interview for the first time. It was like discovering a cinematic gem. I knew that if a piece of footage impacted my emotions or fascinated me, then I believed that most audiences would feel the same. And the most satisfying aspect of this film for me is to watch the film with audiences, hear and experience their reaction, and then speak with audiences afterwards and hear how the film had an impact on them.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world (directors, actors, cinematographers, etc)? Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

I respect and admire filmmakers who explore new territory in film, and who use film and the visual arts to impact audiences in new and powerful ways. I think that Martin Scorsese does this with powerful images, music and story. It was interesting how Scorsese used original Tibetan inspired soundtrack (via the work on Phillip Glass), and rich cultural colors and images, to draw audiences into the story in his feature film about the Dalai Lama ("Kundun"). I think in Kundun, he used violent scenes of the Chinese invasion of Tibet in a powerful relevant way. Frank Capra expressed pureness of heart and something indelible in the human spirit and character in "It"s a Wonderful Life," which is one of my favourite films.

I think that Harold Ramis did something remarkable by entertaining us as well as exploring the nature of time in "Groundhog Day." How did these and other filmmakers impact my work on "Dalai Lama Renaissance"? I"m not sure that they did, because "Dalai Lama Renaissance" is a unique kind of project, that captures a unique moment in time and meeting between Western innovative thinkers and the Dalai Lama. I knew that this film would require patience, as well as gathering other dedicated crew members who could put their heart into the film. That extra passionate and earnest effort, I believe, has been synthesized into the film, and is one reason that audiences at film festivals around the world have responded to the film. Perhaps the quality of patience in filmmaking, and commitment to stay with a project over time, struck me in documentary films such as "Hoop Dreams," which required really caring about the subject matter, and committing oneself to a project for years. I think that I also saw this kind of personal commitment to ones film and subject matter in the Academy Award-winning documentary "Born into Brothels."

How has the film been received at other festivals or screenings? Do you have any interesting stories about how this film has screened before? If this is your first festival, what do you think you will expect at the film"s screenings at Victoria?

We are very happy by how "Dalai Lama Renaissance" has been received so far. It has won 9 international film festival awards thus far (including 3 audience awards), and is the official selection of over 30 film festivals around the world. It has been received very well, as is evident in sold out screening all over the film, including: 4 sold out screening at the Montreal World Film Festival, 3 sold out screenings at FilmFest Munich in Germany, one thousand people attending the film festival opening night screening at the Frozen River Film Festival in Minnesota, sold out screenings at the Cork Film Festival in Ireland, and other sold out screenings. I am pleased that audiences around the world recognize the human story and inner journey in the film.

One memorable film festival screening of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" that comes to mind was at the Taos Mountain Film Festival in New Mexico. One woman in the audience was planning a trip to Nepal before the festival, but after having watched the film, she decided to cancel her trip and begin a socially conscious film festival in her area as a way to make a difference in the lives of others in her community. She told us that it was seeing "Dalai Lama Renaissance" that inspired her to do this.

We have also had prominent film directors and others in the entertainment industry who have watched "Dalai Lama Renaissance" and felt profoundly impacted by it. These experiences give me a deep and humbling feeling of satisfaction, affirming that we have approached making the film with the right intentions and effort.

I really look forward to sharing the film with festival audiences in Victoria, and am grateful to be screening the film here.

If you weren"t making movies, what other line or work do you feel you"d be in?

If I weren"t making socially conscious films, I would make sure and work in a profession that makes a difference to society, like being a teacher, mentoring children, or working to directly help others in some way or doing some kind of social work.

How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?

I think that media exposure always serves to make audiences aware of a particular film, especially independent films that do not have the marketing backing and dollars of a Hollywood studio marketing campaign. Critical media also might help to open a dialogue in the public if there are important issues that are addressed in a particular film.

In a practical sense, a film reviewer and reviews help to support films and give audiences confidence to watch or not watch a particular film. They give an important boost to filmmakers and help their film be seen by more and more audiences.

If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" has played in some remarkable historic movie theatres around the world, but I would love to sit with audiences during screenings in the Arclight dome theatre or Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But, appreciative audiences are the most important thing for me during a screening, no matter where the film is screened.

If you could offer a nickel"s worth of free advice to someone who wanted to make movies, what nuggets of wisdom would you offer?

Find a subject matter that you feel is important and that you feel passionate about, and then do whatever is necessary to get the film made. Bring in people and crew members who have skills and resources that you do not have, and show appreciation for all of their efforts. Filmmaking is a team effort, that is driven by a filmmakers own believe and commitment to a project.

Also, I believe in following ones intuition and gut feelings throughout all aspects of filmmaking. I personally see filmmaking as a spiritual practice for me (as opposed to a religious one), so the same integrity and heart and dedication and respect that I put into my personal spiritual practice, I put into making films.

What do you love the most about film and the filmmaking business?

That I can do something that can inspire and impact audiences in a positive way.

A question that is easy for some but not for others and always gets a different response: what is your favourite movie of all time?

"It"s a Wonderful Life," because it still has the power to put a tear in my eye, and touch my heart, after all these years, and after all of the times that I have watched it.

This film will be screening at this year"s Victoria Film Festival, which runs February 1st to 10th, 2008.

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Dalai Lama Renaissance

Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide

January 2008

"insightful, illuminative and engaging dialogues"

As the curtain rapidly fell on the 20th Century, his holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, grew so deeply troubled by the state of the modern world that he invited 40 pivotal Western thinkers to his secluded home in Northern India's Himalayan Mountains, for a lengthy and pointed brainstorming session on the problems of contemporary society and how to solve them most effectively. Foreseeing the importance of this event, documentarist Khashyar Darvich joined the group with an 18-member, 5-camera crew in tow (sponsored by the Wakan Foundation for the Arts) and sought to capture the event on film. This yielded some 140 hours of video footage, edited down to feature length for Darvich's documentary Dalai Lama Renaissance. The film preserves, in 80 minutes, the most insightful, illuminative and engaging dialogues from Gyatso's conference. Oscar-nominated actor Harrison Ford (Frantic) narrates. ~


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Nepal film festival gives China culture shock

Nepal | Saturday, December 08, 2007

By Sudeshna Sarkar. Kathmandu, Nepal


Assured of Nepal's new government's support for its 'One China' policy and refusal to acknowledge Tibet or Taiwan as separate nations, China nonetheless is about to get a rude shock from an expected quarters - a film festival.

One of Kathmandu's much-acclaimed festivals, the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival hosted by Himal Association, that kicked off in the capital Friday includes four films related to Tibet, of which three are certainly going to be anathema to Beijing.

On Sunday, the City Hall will screen 'Dalai Lama Renaissance', the new documentary on the exiled Tibetan leader's meetings with western thinkers like quantum physicist FredAlan Wolf and social scientist Jean Houston.

Directed by Khashyar Darivch, narrated by Bollywood icon Harrison Ford and released only this summer, the documentary will draw fresh attention to the Nobel peace laureate who recently ruffled the Chinese government's feathers saying he would announce the name of his successor, which would outmanoeuvre Beijing's bid to control his heir, like they have with another Tibetan leader, the Panchen Lama.

For a succession of Nepal governments, who have wanted good relations with their giant northern neighbour China, the Dalai Lama virtually doesn't exist. Under King Gyanendra's influence, the government closed the office of the Dalai Lama's representative in Kathmandu and has refused to let it re-open.

Three years ago, when Nepal hosted a Buddhist conference at Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha in south Nepal, the Dalai Lama was not invited though the heads of other Buddhist states were.

To rub salt into Beijing's wound, the mountain film festival will screen 'Dreaming Lhasa' Monday.

Made by the husband-wife team of Tibetan exile Tenzing Sonam and Indian Ritu Sarin, the film depicts the plight of the exiled Tibetan community in India and has been hailed as the first major feature film by a Tibetan to deal with contemporary Tibet.

In 2005, China tried to pressure the organisers of the Toronto International Film Festival to remove 'Dreaming Lhasa'. Though the organisers refused, Beijing had more success at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea the same year when though initially chosen for screening, 'Dreaming Lhasa' was dropped at the last moment with no explanation.

When the film premiered in the US in April, to combat it, the Chinese government promoted 'The Silent Holy Stones' - that though made by a well-regarded Tibetan filmmaker within Tibet, can be used as Chinese propaganda.

On Tuesday, 'Miss Tibet' directed by Dutch Siebout Leseur van Leeuwen will draw attention to the defiant beauty pageant that is held at Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama, in India every year.

Beijing has been trying to prevent the winner of the title from taking part in other beauty contests, saying Miss China is the legitimate contender.

Though this year's Miss China went on to sweep the Miss World title, Miss Tibet continues to be a thorn in Beijing's flesh.

Only this month, China put pressure on Malaysia to bar Miss Tibet 2006 Tsering Chungtak at the Miss Tourism Pageant unless she agreed to wear a sash that said Miss Tibet-China.

The Tibetan pulled out, saying she would not wear the sash.

The lack of publicity about the entries till the eve of the film festival could have lulled China into a false sense of security.

Tibet right groups in India have complained that when they tried to screen Tibet-related films, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi tried to pressure them into withdrawing them.

India is home to some 100,000 Tibetans who fled their homeland along with the Dalai Lama in 1959 following a failed anti-China uprising. No country recognizes the Tibetan government-in-exile here.

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Inner journeys revealed in 'Dalai Lama Renaissance'

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Khashyar Darvich went to Tibet to film a documentary about 40 of the world's top thinkers joining the Dalai Lama to devise a plan for changing the direction of the world.

Darvich came away with a film that follows a metamorphosis from outer to inner vision and from a plan to change everyone else to a plan to change oneself.

Darvich's story of that metamorphosis will be screened this weekend in the Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival.


Contentiousness began even before the conference opened, as the 40 people traveled from an Indian airport to the Dalai Lama's home. By the time they began discussing the grand scheme, they were virtually at each other's throats and it looked as though the conference would disintegrate.

"At first, we expected great thinkers would solve the world's problems," Darvich said. "Halfway through, we realized the story was about their inner journeys."

What happened when the Dalai Lama arrived to start the conference became the story Darvich filmed, even became its title, "Dalai Lama Renaissance."

His presence, his respect for everyone and everything around him, gradually brought an end to the confrontations, Darvich said.

"He sort of inspires others," Darvich said.

The discussion also turned from a grand design to an inner design.

"In the film, we see great personal change," Darvich said.

That change was carried back into the world from which the participants came and that change will spread like ripples from their presence from now on, Darvich said.

"The seed will keep growing. It has reached millions of people," he said.

Darvich said he did not come to the project from a Buddhist perspective.

"I grew up in Ohio, in the heart of the Bible Belt," he said.

He has, however, come to respect the Dalai Lama.

"He walks the talk," he said. "He is certainly a man who works for peace."

Though directing the film was a satisfying experience, nothing matched the audience reaction the first time it was shown, Darvich said.

"Audience members said they cried. They felt affected. That was worth the entire experience for me," he said.

Narrating the document is Harrison Ford, who needed very little persuading to take on the unpaid gig, Darvich said.

Ford was at the top of a short list of people Darvich and his collaborators thought would do a good job, so he contacted Ford's agent, who forwarded a copy of the script to the actor, who accepted almost immediately.

Darvich said he asked Ford to be prepared to read each line twice, once each in two styles.

Instead, he read each line as many times as it took to get the effect Darvich sought, as many as 10 times in some cases.

"He never complained," Darvich said.

Darvich will be at the Saturday screening of his film and said he will remain after the showing to answer questions if audience members want him to.

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Monday Sep 10, 2007

Harrison Ford Lends His Voice To the Dalai Lama

Harrison Ford may do for the Dalai Lama what Morgan Freeman did for penguins -- at least that's what the people who made The Dalai Lama Renaissance hope.

Ford narrated the docu, which chronicles a meeting the Dalai Lama held at the end of 1999 with philosophers and thinkers to "solve the world's problems." You know, kids' stuff.

Khashyar Darvich, producer-director of Dalai Lama Renaissance, told FBLA that Ford topped the director's list of dream narrators because "he is a grounded person who is liked by a wide variety of audiences, and who has a solid voice for narration."

So far, the film has wound its way through the festival circuit, and Darvich is hoping for wider distribution later this year. In the meantime, he answered some of our questions about his film and His Holiness.


1. How long did it take to complete this film?

The event was filmed at the end of 1999, just before the New Millennium. I feel that all films (especially documentaries) have their own innate timing and process. I had to first take care of my other producing responsibilities for about a year, and then I came back to Dalai Lama Renaissance.

The reasons that the film took a few years to complete were:

1) I felt that we had captured a very special moment and time, and so I gave up all my offers of other films to devote myself to this film. I did not accept any other film offers and work, and decided to give myself completely to this film, which meant to watch and log all 140 hours of footage myself, pay for the post-production of the film myself, and patiently hold test screenings and bring in the right people (who had a genuine feeling for the project).

I gave this film the care and attention that it needed, and the film moved forward in a way that was natural and right for the film.

We decided to focus on the timelessness of the story, and about the human journey and struggle and transformation of the characters in the film, as well as the timeless wisdom of the Dalai Lama.

The timing of the film worked perfectly, because if we had asked Harrison Ford 6 months earlier or later to narrate the film, he would not have been available.

I think that everything, especially a documentary film, has its own
timing. Most of the documentaries that receive nominations for Academy Awards take a few years to make.

2. What message are you hoping to make with this film?

The Dalai Lama says many inspiring and deeply impactful things in the
film. My intention was not to present a specific message, rather to impact audiences in the most powerful and positive way possible.

My intention for making the film was to present a powerful story, and
intimate experience with the Dalai Lama, that would touch and inspire
people. From our four sold-out screenings at the Montreal World Film
Festival, to the three sold-out screenings at FilmFest Munich, and sold-out screenings at the Telluride MountainFilm Festival, audiences after the screenings have come up to me expressing that they have been deeply impacted and inspired. This is the greatest satisfaction for me as a filmmaker.

Audiences and Entertainment Industry people are telling me that they have seen many films on the Dalai Lama, and this is the most intimate
experience of him on film that they have seen.

One of the main messages expressed in the story and characters of the film is that the most effective way to create positive change in the world is to first transform and change ourselves and look at our own issues, and then this in itself will change those around us- -- our families, our towns, and even farther outwards.

Many people want to change the world without also changing themselves and resolving the issues and conflicts that they have themselves and in their families. The Dalai Lama (and the film) is very very much about personal responsibility.

3. How were the meeting's participants chosen?

You can find a full list of who is included in the film (and also attended the meeting) here.

In fact, people who are included in our film are also featured in the
films "The Secret" and "What the Bleep Do We Know," as well as went on to have successful careers as authors, radio hosts, etc.

They were chosen mainly by a close friend of the Dalai Lama (Brother Wayne Teasdale), a Western monk who himself is an author and is included in the film.

4. How did Harrison Ford become involved in the project?

We made a short list of who we thought would be the best narrator for the film, and Harrison Ford was on the top of the list. We called his office, explained the project to his office, and he had the press kit in his hands a few days later when he was flying from Los Angeles.

He liked the project, and eight weeks later Harrison and we were in a
recording studio recording the narration.

I thought was a great choice because he is a grounded person who is liked by a wide variety of audiences, and who has a solid voice for narration.

This is an example of how the timing of this film was perfect, because if we would have asked him six months earlier to do the narration, he would not have been available, and if we would have asked him six months later, he would also not have been available.

Posted by Mayrav

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Review of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" - Montreal World Film Festival

by Seema, Orcasound.com

"There are some interesting documentaries at the festival as well. "The Dalai Lama Renaissance" by Kashyar Darvich is worthwhile seeing. The documentary gives viewers an inside look into the meeting between 40 prominent Western thinkers and The Dalai Lama, which took place before the new millennium. He invited them to discuss world issues but instead some of them were just so lost in their own egos and were clashing with others instead of working together on practical solutions. The highlight of the documentary is, of course, The Dalai Lama. Whenever he is on screen, he is truly inspiring. Along with his contagious smile, it is great to see how he lives and hear his views about the state of the world."

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Harrison Ford Narrates Documentary Film about Dalai Lama

 LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Actor Harrison Ford is narrating a new documentary film about the Dalai Lama, entitled "Dalai Lama Renaissance" (www.DalaiLamaFilm.com).

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" is premiering at the Telluride MountainFilm Festival (May 26 at 10:30 a.m. - www.mountainfilm.org), and will be featured at the prestigious FilmFest Muenchen (Munich, Germany) June 22-30 - http://www.filmfest-muenchen.de/.

"I narrated "Dalai Lama Renaissance,"" says Harrison Ford, "because I believe His Holiness is making a positive influence in our world.  For me, the film represented an opportunity to continue assisting the optimistic efforts of an extraordinary individual."

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" is only among a small handful of documentaries that Ford has chosen to narrate during his career. Ford has starred in such blockbuster films as "Raider of the Lost Ark" & the "Indiana Jones" movies, "Star Wars," "The Fugitive," "Witness," and many others. Harrison Ford"s films have the second highest worldwide box office gross (over $5.5 billion) of any actor in history. Ford is also starring in "Indian Jones 4," which is directed by Stephen Spielberg and will be released in May 2008.

"Dalai Lama Renaissance"- produced, directed and co-edited by filmmaker Khashyar Darvich- is the story of 40 Western innovative thinkers who travel to India in the Himalayan Mountains to meet with the Dalai Lama to solve many of the world"s problems. What happened was surprising and unexpected, and was captured by a five camera, 18 person crew.

The film also features two of the starring quantum physicists from the hit documentary "What the Bleep Do We Know," Physicists Fred Alan Wolf and Ami Goswami. Also appearing in "Dalai Lama Renaissance" are Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith (founder and director of Agape International Spiritual Center, who appears in the film "The Secret" with Wolf), ground-breaking social scientist Jean Houston and author and radio host Thom Hartmann.

The film has a world-class music soundtrack that includes original music from one of the master sitar players in the world, Roop Verma, who is a prot"g" of legendary Indian musicians Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. One of the top three Tibetan musicians in the West, Tashi Dhondup Sharzur, has also recorded original music for the film. Composer Henry Reid, who has contributed to the Grammy-Award-Winning group "Manheim Steamroller," is composing the Western music.

Robert McFalls, one of the editors of the Academy Award-winning Documentary "American Dream," is Co-Editor of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" with Darvich. Consulting Editors on "Dalai Lama Renaissance" include Luis Carballar (an editor on the Oscar-nominated film "Amores Perros") and Oscar-nominated documentary editor Paula Stein.

Producer-Director Khashyar Darvich spent six years producing and editing "Dalai Lama Renaissance," and funded the film independently since he wanted to make sure that the film would be made with the highest integrity and artistic quality.

After one of Darvich"s interviews with the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama affirmed Darvich"s and Wakan Films" motivations in producing films-- "Yes I like your questions," the Dalai Lama told Darvich, as the two were standing together talking after the interview. "Certainly, your effort can make some contribution"there"s no doubt."

"Dalai Lama Renaissance" is schedule for release in late 2007.


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