Dhondup Wangchen has been honored today with journalists from Brazil, Kyrgyzstan and Liberia Tuesday at the 2012 International Press Freedom Awards in New York for taking huge risks to expose human rights violations in their countries.

Dhondup Wangchen, honored with CPJ’s 2012 International Press Freedom Award from Committee to Protect Journalists on Vimeo.

They were honored at an awards dinner in New York, although two of them — Kyrgyz reporter Azimjon Askarov and Tibetan Dhondup Wangchen — were unable to attend as they are currently imprisoned. But his wife Lhamo Tso attended the ceremony.The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said the four reporters “have faced severe reprisals for their work, including assault, threats, and torture.”

“We are inspired by these journalists who have paid a high price for their enduring dedication to the truth,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

The winners are:
– Brazilian Mauri Koenig, an investigative reporter who has spent 22 years covering human rights abuses and corruption. Koenig was almost beaten to death while reporting for stories on the kidnapping of Brazilian children for military service in Paraguay and has received many death threats.

– Wangchen, a Tibetan documentary filmmaker who made the film “Leaving Fear Behind” about his homeland ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He was promptly detained and sentenced to six years in prison.

– Askarov, a Kyrgyz journalist and human rights activist sentenced to life behind bars after writing about corruption and abuse of power. According to human rights groups, the criminal case against him was fabricated.

– Mae Azango, a rare female journalist in Liberia, had to go into hiding after writing about female genital mutilation.

The CPJ honors between four and seven individuals or publications each year at the New York banquet.

Madeline Earp, Lhamo Tso, Sandra Mims Rowe and Gwen Ifill

For more information see here.

1st Jury Prize:

Canh Ba Ba (Turtle Soup) by Tsering Tashi Gyalthang

2nd Jury Prize:

Re-paired Glasses by Geleck Palsang

2nd Jury Prize

Can Anyone Hear Me by Tenzin Phuljung

Other contributions:

The Ultimate Courage – Nying-Top by Palden Khar

The Brave Tibetans In A New Country by Thupten Tenzin

Two Letters by Lhamo Tso

Courage by Drukthar

Ant Story by Jamphel Dorjee and Thinlay Choegyal

Tibet Film Festival in Zurich

Zurich/Dharamsala – Tibet Film Festival is ready to start.  «We had been fighting till the last moment to get the films we wanted to present to our audience», says Ganden Tethong the coordinator.  The organisers encourage  the audience to enjoy the films and participate in the discussions.

Filming for Tibet is grateful to H.H. the Gyalwang Karmapa for showing his support for the festival.  It would like to thank the Tibetan film makers for having contributed wonderful films to our program and would like to remind that without our  sponsoring partners and individual donors in India and Switzerland this event wouldn’t be the same!

Companies, Foundation & Group Donor
Aeschimann group 1961 – 1964, former Tibetan foster children
Anonymous, Switzerland
Dhombatsang, Boutique&Handicrafts, Dharamsala, Mr. Karma Dhombatsann
Green Hotel, Dharamsala, Mr. Wangdue Tsewang
Guesthouse Pema Tang, Dharamsala, Mrs. Kelsang Chukie Tethong
Kulturmarkt, Switzerland
Migros Kulturprozent, Switzerland
Hot Yak Cafe, Delhi, Mr. Tenzin Thinlay
Tibet Tour and Travel, Dharamsala, Mr Dawa R. Gangpa Dhekyi
Zambala House, Dharamsala,  Mr. Lobsang Tenzin

Individual Donor
Mrs. and Mrs. Pia and Jürg Ammann, Switzerland
Mrs. Lucy Fazzino, Dharamsala
Mrs Tsering Lhamo, Dharamsala
Mr. Dorjee and Mrs. Jaqueline Phuntsok
Mr.  Norbu Tsering, Canada
Mrs. Pema Sernja, Switzerland
Mrs. Dicky Tethong, Switzerland

Sponsor  of the program booklet 
Pema of Tibet
Lhasa Shop
Tibet Culture Trekking Tour
Seiz AG
Ganden Meditationszentrum
Tibet Shop, Zürich
Silvan Fesssler Fotodesign
Artige Bar, Zürich



15. Oct. 2012/Dharamsala/India – Tibet Film Festival presented to H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa this year’s program of the Tibet Film Festival. The event took place in Norbu Lingkha Institute and also included the screening of some entries of last year’s short film competition.  H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa who takes great interest in arts expressed at this occasion his support for Tibetan film making and the work of the Tibet Film Festival.

Tibet Film Festival host event at Norbu Lingkha Institute, ©Filming for Tibet/David Huang

H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa who suffered from a bad cold talked about the responsibility of film making and reminded of the situation in Tibet and the people trying to use video as a mean to communicate to the outside world the desperate situation inside Tibet.

The organisers of the film festival thanked the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa for his sympathy and support for a festival that is unique, maybe in the world for taking plase at two places (Zurich and Dharamsala) at the same time with an identical short film competition and almost identical film program. The festival shows exclusively films made by Tibetan.

Nyima Thondup (co-organizer of Tibet Film Festival) presenting the program of Tibet Film Festival to H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa, ©Filming for Tibet/David Huang

Some of the sponsors of the festival were also invited to the event and had the opportunity to take a group photo with H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa.

The Festival starts in Zurich on 26. October 2012 and in Dharamsala on 27. October 2012

Photo of Jigme Gyatso

Jigme Gyatso, the monk who assisted Dhondup Wangchen in making the 2008 documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind” (Tibetan title “Jigdrel”) has been missing for two weeks, according to his close friends and posts on social media by Tibetans. Jigme Gyatso, also known as Golog Jigme, was last heard of on September 20.

According to his Zurich-based close friend Gyaljong Tsetrin, Jigme Gyatso’s last known whereabouts were in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province, on September 20 when he was on his way to Tsoe (Ch: Hezuo) in Amdo, Tibet. “I’m certain that Jigme Gyatso has been detained by Chinese security and I fear he is being ill-treated, as he has been in the past”, said Gyaljong Tsetrin.

Security in China is known to be heavy handed around the times of national holidays and anniversaries, such as the recent October 1 National Day. Jigme Gyatso has a history of detentions, was under heavy surveillance by Chinese security with his movements routinely restricted. The New York based group, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), yesterday released a statement expressing their concern, their Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz said, “We are concerned about the whereabouts of Jigme Gyatso, who has been harassed and detained in the past for making a film [...] Gyatso’s disappearance is a reminder that even if they are freed, the fear of re-arrest is constant.”

Screenshot of Weibo post about Jigme Gyatso

At great personal risk, Tibetan netizens have been posting on social media sites and alerting each other about Jigme Gyatso’s disappearance. A post on the Sina Weibo microblogging site from September 30, 2012 (screenshot above) says that “Jigme Gyatso has been missing for the last 10 days”.

Another post also from September 30 on Tibetan blog-hosting site titled “Looking for Jigdrel’s Jigme” says in Tibetan, “It has been over 10 days since we are not knowing the whereabouts of Jigme, maker of the film “Leaving Fear Behind”, also known as Golog Jigme. This is causing family and friends to worry. Looking for information about him, please contact us immediately, thank you.” This post was deleted from very quickly.

Jigme Gyatso was the main helper to Dhondup Wangchen on the documentary film “Leaving Fear Behind”. Dhondup Wangchen is currently serving a six year prison sentence for making the film.

Press Contacts:
Gyaljong Tsetrin, President of “Filming for Tibet” and close friend of Jigme Gyatso, +41764626768 (Tibetan & Chinese)
Dechen Pemba, “Filming for Tibet” spokesperson, +44 20 3286 7681 (English)


Screenshot of the Statement by CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) yesterday released a statement expressing their concern for Jigme Gyatso (aka Golog Jigme) who is feared detained. Jigme Gyatso was last heard of on September 20, 2012.

“We are concerned about the whereabouts of Jigme Gyatso, who has been harassed and detained in the past for making a film,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “All too often, Tibetan journalists are detained without due process, and Gyatso’s disappearance is a reminder that even if they are freed, the fear of re-arrest is constant.”

Read the full statement by CPJ here:

Proud and worried, say supporters and family 

Zurich/London/San Francisco – Filming for Tibet is extremely happy about today’s announcement by Committee to Protect Journalists that Dhondup Wangchen, along with three others, is an awardee of 2012 CPJ International Press Freedom Award.

Gyaljong Tsetrin, Dhondup Wangchen’s cousin living in Switzerland and President of “Filming for Tibet” said: “We are very proud to hear that Dhondup Wangchen has been awarded with the CPJ International Press Freedom Award. This award highlights his commitment to bringing the voices of ordinary Tibetans, who are suffering under Chinese occupation and longing for freedom, to the fore in 2008, which came at enormous personal cost.”

“His immense courage and dedication for his people has made him a role model for many young Tibetans. This award is also a reminder of the hundreds, if not thousands, of political prisoners inside Tibet imprisoned for peacefully expressing their views”, Tsetrin continued.

Lhamo Tso, Dhondup Wangchen’s wife, presently in the US is also extremely gratified about the news: “I am very happy that my husband’s works receives this amount of international acknowledgement. It is for the family a bit of a solace knowing that my husband has not been forgotten by good-hearted people around the world. I and my children are very worried about his health, pray for his early release and hope to see him soon in good health condition.”

Along with Dhondup Wangchen, the three other awardees are Mauri König, Brazil, Mae Azango, Liberia and imprisoned journalist Azimjon Askarov, Kyrgyzstan. The awardees will be honored at CPJ’s annual awards dinner in New York City on November 20, 2012.

See for info:

Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden has won the “Best Narrative Feature” for his movie “Old Dog” (Khyi rgan) at the Brooklyn Film Festival which concluded yesterday. Old Dog will be one of the high-lights of this year’s Tibet Film Festival (TFF) in Zurich and Dharamsala from 26 till 28 October 2012.

Competing with more than 100 premieres from nearly 30 countries, “Old Dog” was voted amongst the best at the June 1 – 10, 2012 Festival, winning a total of US $57,000 in prizes and film services.

See for more information on Brooklin Film Festival and Old Dog here.

A Tibetan sheep herder sells his father’s prized Tibetan mastiff to a dealer without his father’s approval. When his father finds out, he must travel into a frontier town to retrieve the dog that he raised for 12 years and is deeply attached to. The relation between father and son is turned upside down, and the mastiff has to be guarded at all times from dog-nappers and dealers who constantly harass the family with ever increasing offers. “Old Dog” is a poetic story about Tibet’s changing society, where old values are in direct conflict with new.

Pema Tseden
Pema Tseden was born in 1969 in Amdo, the Tibetan region (Qinghai province). He is a member of the Chinese Film Directors’ Association, Chinese Filmmakers’ Association and Chinese Film Literature Association. He studied in the Northwest University for Nationalities, Beijing Film Academy and Lu Xun College respectively. He has earned a Master’s Degree in Literature and Arts. Since 1991, Pema Tseden has published more than 50 pieces of short and medium-length novels both in Tibetan and Chinese. Some of his works have been translated into English, French and German among other languages. Some of them won the Tibetan literature prize Drang-char (sbrang-char) and the Rookie award for Chinese Contemporary Ethnic Literature. In 2002, Pema Tseden began his film career. His feature films are The Grassland (2004), The Silent Holy Stones (2005), The Search (2009) and Old Dog (2010). His films won numerous awards.



This US visit was very important for her. She met a lot of people and feels encouraged to go on with her mission to free her husband.

Filming for Tibet would like to thank Committee of 100, ICT, Amnesty International USA, State of Control production, SFT, RTYC NY, TANC, BAFoT and the many other Tibetan and individual supporters groups  in New York, Washington, Boston and California for their great program and also for the kindness and friendship that they extended to her.

There were some positive developments such as Dhondup Wangchen being named by the State Departement as one of the prominent cases of people who are put in prison because they fought for the right to express their views freely. We hope that his release will be soon!

Her next stop will be Canada. Click here for her detailed itinerary.

For inquiries and media request contact: info(at)

Lhamo Tso with Tenzin Seldon (SFT) at the Amnesty event “Get on the Bus”
New York, 27 May 2012