Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

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Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

(Source: Facebook/Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom)

By Staff Reporter 

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is a heart-rendingly beautiful film which has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Directed by the esteemed Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been shown at the World Premiere of the 63rd BFI London Film Festival.

It has also been selected for the 24th Busan International Film Festival and will soon have its North American Premiere at the 38th Vancouver International Film Festival.

The Vancouver International Film Festival, one of the largest film festival in North America, has selected Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom as part of their ‘Dragons & Tigers’ selections.

Dragons & Tigers is an internationally celebrated series that introduces the most exciting talents from East Asia to the rest of the World.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom was made under challenging conditions

Shot in the world’s most remote school at an impressive altitude of around 5000m above sea level, the crew spent 2 months amidst the majestic Himalayan glaciers, totally cut off from the outside world.

Photo: Facebook/Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Challenges abound while shooting, they had nothing but the power of the sun to charge their equipment while some of the actors from the village had never even watched a movie before.

Synopsis of Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

The film begins with an all-too-familiar Bhutanese scenario - an apathetic and bored-to-death young professional (Ugyen Dorji, played by Sherub Dorji) hates his job.

An aspiring singer living with his grandmother in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, Ugyen dreams of getting a visa to relocate to Australia.

But before he can do that, he has to finish his final year of government teaching service in Bhutan’s most remote village school in Lunana. To cope with his stress, he parties hard and hangs around in Thimphu’s grubby corners with his friends all night long.

With more yak dung than people up in the mountains, Uygen found it difficult to adjust to life in Lunana.

Source: Facebook/Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom 

He struggled to teach in a school where there was no blackboard and the children had never heard of it or seen one themselves.

However, through the passage of time, the students, community, and tradition of the place grew on him and gradually altered his perception.

Nature and spirituality figure prominently in Lunana’s daily life, and the film captured the richness of a culture rarely exhibited on screen.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is indeed a heartfelt, humanistic tale about the unexpected ways that life can change us.

Film as a visual record of life

The director, Pawo Choyning Dorji mentioned the importance of documenting the unique lifestyle of the people of Lunana, echoing what his teacher Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche once told him.

“The films we make will remain for eternity. They will be watched a hundred years later… well after we have passed on. Our creations will be what the future generations will use as a reference of our time. As filmmakers we are the scribes of our era. It is through our creations that we must tell the stories that define our people, our time and our society. We are the preservers of our time’s dreams, hopes, and even fears… and this is a very sacred responsibility.”


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