Film: Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s fourth feature film Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait was awarded with a special mention by an international jury for being placed second at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), according to a press release issued by Tsong Tsong Ma Productions.

A filmmaker and producer of the film, Pawo Choyning Dorji, said the team was invited to have its North American premiere at the renowned 41st TIFF, which was held from September 8 to September 18.

“For a film made in Bhutan on a shoestring budget, amateur actors and mainly young, novice Bhutanese technicians to be competing with mega-budget movies from Hollywood and emerge at the top is indeed a remarkable feat, something that all Bhutanese should be happy and proud of,” Pawo Choyning Dorji said.

The Toronto festival gets over 7,000 applications from around the world, out of which 250 are selected. From the 250 films, only 12 films are shortlisted for the Toronto Platform Prize. Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait was the only Asian film to be shortlisted.

The three-member jury of the Toronto Platform Prize was comprised of well-known filmmakers such as Brian De Palma and Mahamat Saleh Haroun, and actress Zhang Ziyi.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Pawo Choyning Dorji and actors Tshering Dorji and Sadon Lhamo represented the film at the festival.

Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait had its world premiere at the Festival del film Locarno in Switzerland before going to Toronto. The film now heads to the London BFI Film Festival in the UK before premiering at Busan International Film Festival in South Korea.

Staff reporter