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Meet the Filmmaker: Makoto Sasa

Meet the Filmmaker: Makoto Sasa
“Fire Under the Snow”

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009
Location: NY NATAS, 1375 Broadway, Suite 2103
Reception: 6:00-6:30 PM ~ Program: 6:30-8:00 PM
*Free to Members!
$15 for those without current membership
Arrested by the Chinese Communist Army in 1959, Tibetan monk Palden Gyatso spent 33 years in prisons and labor camps for the “crime” of peaceful demonstration. Tortured, starved and sentenced to hard labor, he watched his nation and culture destroyed, his teachers, friends and family displaced, jailed or killed. Fire Under the Snow covers Palden’s birth in 1933, and follows him through the Orwellian nightmare that began with the Chinese invasion. It explores the escalating cycle of interrogation and physical violation that ended decades later with Palden’s escape from Tibet and a cathartic meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India.  During his imprisonment, sometimes the mere thought of being reunited with the Dalai Lama was a beacon of hope for Palden and other fellow prisoners. The film investigates the basis of Palden’s resilience, who claims that his faith in Buddhism and education as a monk helped him survive. Despite the atrocities that befell him, he harbors no anger toward the Chinese and believes it is part of his “karma.” At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, we captured the entirety of Palden’s participation in an indefinite hunger strike. Using this highly publicized and symbolic event, an attempt is made to draw public attention to Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics. We see first hand Palden’s dedication to the cause, his mentoring of the young Tibetan hunger strikers, and his emotional recollections of lost comrades.  Fire Under the Snow reveals the contours of an inspirational story: the survival of a mind and soul under unthinkable duress.
Makoto Sasa was born in 1973 in Tokyo.  In her childhood she was captivated by the images of Tibetan monks and the Himalayan mountains on TV, and Tibet has affected her ever since.  She studied Media at Keio University in Japan then moved to New York City in 1998. After receiving an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School University, she made several short documentaries and worked as an assistant editor for Going Under (2004), Love (2005), and The City (2007).  She was the editor and associate producer for a feature documentary about a Japanese photographer which won the Best Editing Award at the Honolulu International Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Brooklyn International Film Festival.  In 2005 the influence of Tibetan Buddhism and Palden Gyatso’s story began to harmonize during her most difficult days in NYC. She then embarked on her own feature documentary Fire Under the Snow.

PLEASE RSVP VIA EMAIL or call 212-459-3630 ext. 200
Produced & Moderated by Sumner Jules Glimcher


Thu, Oct. 22, 2009
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.
(GMT-0400) US/Eastern


1375 Broadway, Suite 2103
New York, NY 10018