Filmmakers

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, Filmmaker couple, New Delhi, India Express Photograph by Tashi Tobgyal New Delhi 091215

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are an Indian-­Tibetan couple who have been making films together since the mid­-eighties when, as students, they made their first award winning documentary, The New Puritans: The Sikhs of Yuba City. They lived and worked as independent filmmakers in the San Francisco Bay Area and then in London for many years before moving back to India in 1996.

Through their production company, White Crane Films, which they started in 1991, they have made several documentary films, video installations and one dramatic feature film. Their documentary films include: The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche (1991), The Trials of Telo Rinpoche (1993), and The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet (1998), all commissioned by the BBC. Their documentary, The Sun Behind the Clouds (2009), was theatrically released in the US and kicked­ off with a two­ week run at New York’s Film Forum. It won the Vaclav Havel Award at the One World Film Festival in Prague. Their latest documentary, When Hari Got Married (2012), premiered at Films From the South, Oslo, and has shown at DOK Leipzig and IDFA Amsterdam. Their debut feature film, Dreaming Lhasa (2005), was executive produced by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Gere, and had its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and its European premiere at San Sebastian International Film Festival. It had a theatrical run in the US, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Their video installations have shown at the Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), Busan Biennale and Thyssen­Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna), among other venues.

In 2012 they founded the White Crane Arts and Media Trust and launched the Dharamshala International Film Festival, which is now one of India’s leading independent film festivals.

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