Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is one of the 15 shortlisted films for Oscars 2022 International Feature Film Category


The Academy Awards, popularly known as Oscars is the most prestigious award within the film industry.

Premiered in London in 2019, the Bhutanese film, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom" was forced to withdraw from the 2020 Oscars due to technicality related to the formal nomination process. 

Last year, the film was selected to represent Bhutan to compete for nominations at Oscars 2021. But The Academy Awards did not accept the movie because they did not recognize Bhutan’s selection committee as the country had not submitted a film since 1999. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is the second Oscar entry from Bhutan since The Cup by Khyentse Rinpoche in 1999. 

“Because it was that long, we didn’t have a recognized committee. So, last year, even though we were Bhutan’s entry, the Academy couldn’t accept us. But this year because of the hard work of Ministry of Information and Communications, the National Film Commission, we were officially accepted and now we have made it to the shortlist,” said Pawo Choyning Dorji, film director.

“Just being accepted by the Academy as an official entry to represent your country on the stage, that itself is such a big honour. So, when the Academy accepted us as Bhutan’s official entry, I was already very grateful, honoured and humbled by that and when I saw the list of 94 of the world’s greatest films, each representing its own people, its own culture, its own country, I looked at it and I thought there is absolutely no way we will make it to the last 15,” said Pawo.

As surreal as it may seem to the film director, it was recently announced that Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom was one of the films shortlisted in the International Feature Film category for the 94th Academy Awards. Below are the 15 shortlisted films that will advance to the next round of voting.


  • Austria – Great Freedom
  • Belgium – Playground
  • Bhutan – Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
  • Denmark – Flee
  • Finland – Compartment Number 6
  • Germany – I’m Your Man
  • Iceland – Lamb
  • Iran – A Hero
  • Italy – The Hand of God
  • Japan – Drive My Car
  • Kosovo – Hive
  • Mexico – Prayers for the Stolen
  • Norway – The Worst Person in the World
  • Panama – Plaza Catedral
  • Spain – The Good Boss

The Academy’s selection committee will vote for the five best films from the 15 shortlisted films. The final five will advance for the Best International feature Film Nomination for the 94th Academy Awards, Oscars 2022.

About Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Shot at one of the remotest regions of Bhutan, the film was shot using solar-powered batteries. Navigating the many challenges including limited resources and accessibility, the film took three months to complete. Majority of the casts were local children and villagers of Lunana. 

The film is about a despondent teacher from the capital city, Thimphu, who was deployed to teach in the most isolated part of the kingdom. Ugyen's dream is to relocate to Australia to become a singer someday. The story portrays the genuine warmth, sincerity, mutual respect and kindness of the villagers that bring about the transformation of a discouraged teacher. 

Read the 9 important life lessons from Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

“This movie touches upon a basic human quality and that is seeking where you belong, seeking happiness, seeking home and I feel within this diversity, this common element of humanity has reached across different audiences,” said Pawo.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom has screened at several festivals all over the world including the USA, the UK, Canada, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Egypt, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, India, Japan and Singapore. It has won 18 international awards in the US, England, Wales, France and South Korea among others.

The film has definitely raised the profile of the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan in the international arena.

The final list of Oscar nominations will be revealed on February 8, and the awards will be handed out on March 27.

Related Posts

9 important life lessons from Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom tells the story of the journey of an unmotivated teacher, Ugyen Dorji, hailing from the...

Apr 12, 2021 10:38

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,...

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

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II: Reformation through Art

‘Do you see the eyes?’ ‘Look closely and you would see the eyes with tears streaming down. And this is the nose,’ Kinga...

Apr 26, 2022 22:01

Travel to Bhutan: go off the beaten path in eastern Bhutan

You will find settlements on high grounds and isolated valleys. You will see rolling hills, deep gorges, and green...

Mar 28, 2022 15:44

Bhutan is on a mission to plant one million fruit trees

Inspired by His Majesty’s vision, one million fruit trees are expected to be planted in two and half months in Bhutan...

Mar 16, 2022 14:48

Electric vehicles are Bhutan’s answer to air pollution

Air pollution by vehicles is a threat to Bhutan’s carbon-neutral status. But the Bhutanese have found a solution.

Feb 28, 2022 12:13



Colours Beyond the Wall Volume II: Reformation through Art

‘Do you see the eyes?’ ‘Look closely and you would see the eyes with tears streaming down. And this is the nose,’ Kinga (name changed) said...

Apr 26, 2022 22:01

Travel to Bhutan: go off the beaten path in eastern Bhutan

You will find settlements on high grounds and isolated valleys. You will see rolling hills, deep gorges, and green pastures.

Mar 28, 2022 15:44


What went on at Miss Bhutan 2022 preliminary competition

The 3rd edition of Miss Bhutan is underway and the Preliminary Round was held and broadcast live on BBS Channel 2 on 15th May 2022 from...

May 19, 2022 21:11

Check out Drunken Yeti Bar for the best cocktails in Thimphu

Named after a mythical Himalayan creature and perched on top of a distinct and unique 3-storied building in Thimphu, lies a unique bar that...

May 17, 2022 21:11


The enormous role of hydropower in Bhutan

Bhutan uses hydropower to conserve the environment, produce electricity, and achieve economic self-reliance.

Jan 25, 2022 11:43

Online businesses are becoming more and more popular in Bhutan

Even though the Internet was developed in the 1960s, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was only introduced to it in June 1999.

Jan 20, 2022 12:41


Outstanding individuals, schools and clubs awarded for their contributions to grassroots football

On December 22, 2021, the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF), a bronze member of the AFC Grassroots Charter,presented awards to unsung heroes...

Jan 11, 2022 14:15

Bhutan's national women cricket team won ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier 2021 opening match

The United Arab Emirates is currently hosting the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Asia Qualifier. The two ICC Academy grounds in Dubai Sports City...

Nov 23, 2021 11:13


Trace the footsteps of the Divine Madman on this hiking trail

There is no better way to connect spiritually with Drukpa Kuenley, the “Divine Madman”. The trail will take you downhill for about four...

Apr 28, 2022 22:30

Been to Bhutan before? Stand a chance to win FREE flight tickets to back to Bhutan!

If you’ve been to Bhutan before, we want to hear your story.

Apr 15, 2022 19:49


The hot springs of Bhutan are believed to have miraculous healing properties

The Bhutanese believe that hot springs are a blessing from the Buddha.

Apr 08, 2022 21:52

What are the five main fruits in a Bhutanese fruit bowl 'thokay'?

There are usually five fruits that make it to the 'thokay' (fruit bowl) placed on the altars or in front of the King, Chief Abbot and Lamas.

Mar 08, 2022 15:54


A detailed summary of Bhutan's COVID-19 management and plans moving forward

With offices and all businesses open, movement of vehicles allowed and critical services resumed from 21st March 2022, Bhutan braces for a...

Mar 22, 2022 11:23

Vaccinated tourists to undergo 5-day quarantine in Bhutan from April 25

What you need to know about entering Bhutan from April 25.

Mar 14, 2022 14:21

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!