While the documentary ‘the Next Guardian’, co-directed by Arun Bhattarai (Bhutan) and Dorottya Zurbó (Hungary) did not win an award at the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA), Netherlands, it received the IDFA Bertha Fund of Euros 30,000.

The Next Guardian was  selected among the three projects for the Distribution of International Co-productions category. All projects were produced through international co-productions in which at least one European and one non-European producer were involved.

The IDFA Bertha Fund aims to stimulate and empower creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe by supporting innovative documentary projects in the regions. The Fund provides development, production and distribution grants through two funding schemes.

‘The Next Guardian’ explores the clash of dreams of two generations within an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bumthang, when Gyembo an ordinary teenager is chosen as the next guardian of their family monastery by his father. The film explores the irony of two generations with contrasting dreams living alongside each other.

As there is no proper distribution company or a structure in Bhutan, the directors plan to set up a travelling cinema consisting of a car with projection equipment that would travel from one village to the next, screening the documentary.

The directors first plan to premiere the film in Thimphu, in April next year to create the buzz necessary to evoke curiosity of the Bhutanese audiences who are not used to creative documentaries.

The travelling cinema mini bus would move around Bhutan from March to December next year, screening the film to different communities.

Director Arun Bhattarai said all the screenings would be followed by a moderated discussion on the themes present in the film. “Local village festivals, schools and monastery courtyards in remote villages will be used as the venue to screen the film. The film can be a self-reflexive tool for the youth and their families in re-thinking existing values and societal norms.”

The 72 minutes long documentary was produced in three years at about Nu 4000,000. The directors of the documentary Arun Bhattarai and Dorottya Zurbó are both graduates from DocNomads Joint Masters in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels.

Arun Bhattarai said all screenings of the documentary went houseful at the IDFA. “We didn’t receive any awards there but, we got in touch with many festivals and TV buyers who are interested in the documentary.”

Karma Cheki