Staff Reporter 

A Bhutanese short film, “Why is the sky dark at night?” has been officially selected in the Wide Angle: Asian Short Film Competition segment at the 26th Busan International Film Festival, South Korea.

The short film will compete with nine other short films from Japan, China, Nepal, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Taiwan and Iran in the category. This is the first time a Bhutanese short film has been officially selected for this segment at the largest and the most prestigious film festival in Asia.

The film festival will be held from October 6 to 15 this year.

“For a short film like ours, made on a shoe-string budget with all first-time actors, to be among so many other wonderful films from Asia and around the world is a great honor and we take this selection as an opportunity to represent the entire film fraternity of Bhutan on such a big stage,” Kelzang Dorjee said.

The film was produced by Samuh, the first official OTT platform in the country, and directed by Kelzang Dorjee (aka Solly Baba), one of the few upcoming independent filmmakers in the country.

His previous short film ‘A Song of Silence’ won the Golden Khadhar award for best short film at the Beskop Tshechu Film Festival 2016. The short film was also screened at Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland and Ekadeshma International Film Festival, Nepal.

According to Kelzang Dorjee, “Why is the sky dark at night?” uses expositions like the superficial side of living in a city, the sad reality of arts and artists alike, and a satirical take on being born into a religious culture.

“It is a soft social commentary with death and loneliness as its subtext. In fact, it is a very violent film without showing any violence in it,” he adds.

The short film was produced as part of Samuh’s content plan to promote independent art house films and provide the vital space for art house films.

“We would like to thank Samuh for coming up with an alternative platform for filmmakers who don’t have the means and access to large-scale productions, and most importantly for paying a closer attention to the format of short films and giving aspiring filmmakers like myself the opportunity to express ourselves through this beautiful medium we all know as cinema,” Kelzang Dorjee said.

Samuh’s creative director, Kinley Tshering, said that besides the mainstream entertainment films, Samuh had been investing in art house films and supporting independent filmmakers to tell Bhutanese stories to a wider global audience.

“It gives us a huge sense of satisfaction when Bhutanese films make it to prestigious international film festivals. This is something we consciously want to do at Samuh. And we are already working together with a few Bhutanese filmmakers on film projects that will definitely make a splash in the international film festival circuits in the next few years,” he said.

Samuh plans to invest 10 percent of its annual revenue in producing art house films and supporting independent filmmakers in the country.

Edited by Tshering Palden