February 01, 2012

When the Iron Bird Flies

Tricycle is pleased to be partnering with the BuddhaFest Film Festival once again. The festival takes place June 14-17, 2012  in Washington DC and is a tremendous showcase for Buddhist films. Tricycle partnered with BuddhaFest last year, and we had a lot of fun and got the opportunity to show six great Buddhist films here on our site that the members of our community found truly inspirational.

Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Richard Gere

One of the films showing in this year's festival—and on our site—will be When the Iron Bird Flies, produced and directed by Victress Hitchcock with co-producer/director Amber Bemak. The pair also put together the popular film Blessings, about the Tsoknyi Nangchen nuns of Tibet, and it was that film's enthusiastic reception that led to this one being conceived.

If you don't know much about getting a film made, you're probably not aware of how much it costs and how much of a commitment it is to complete a film. Our involvement with BuddhaFest has greatly increased our awareness of the challenges faced by Buddhist filmmakers in particular, and we're now helping Victress and Amber spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign to help her finish When the Iron Bird Flies. Here's more information about the film:

When the Iron Bird Flies: Tibetan Buddhism Arrives in the West is the first feature-length documentary to take an up-close and personal look at the complex collaboration developing between Tibetan Buddhism and Western culture. The film creates a vivid portrait of the world of Tibetan Buddhism as it is manifesting in the West–from the personal experiences and insights of teachers and practitioners to the wide-ranging dialogues taking place between Buddhist teachings and the worlds of science, psychology, and the arts. And it asks the question: “Can these ancient teachings help us to find genuine happiness and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world?”

When the Iron Bird Flies weaves together an intricate tapestry of interviews with contemporary teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, stories of western practitioners whose lives have been touched by the teachings, rare archival footage, and a wide range of striking images of modern life that illuminate and make accessible the Buddha’s core teachings.

Along the way, it tackles some of the controversial issues of patriarchy, hierarchy, gender bias, the student-teacher relationship, and the importance of lineage in the transmission of Dharma from East to West.

The film features a host of well known Buddhist teachers, including Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Tsultrim Allione, Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyal, Alan Wallace, Matthieu Ricard, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, Anam Thubten, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and more.

Shooting has been completed and the film is in its editing phase. Take a look at the Kickstarter page to see for yourself. There are rewards for different levels of donations, but the greatest reward is helping a Buddhist film reach the widest possible audience.

Image: Tsoknyi Rinpoche with Ricard Gere

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mark1downing's picture

The film When the Iron Bird Flies is available on-line when/where, please?

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Hi Mark. You can see the movie from here: http://www.tricycle.com/buddhafest, starting on June 25. It will be available to watch online, provided that you've purchased an online film festival pass, until July 8.

Emma Varvaloucas

newmediamakers's picture

Thank you