Bhutanese Film gets a special mention award out of 7,000 films

“Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait,” has been awarded a Special Mention by an international jury for being placing second in the prestigious Toronto Platform Film Competition.

Hema Hema was invited to have its North American premiere at the renowned 41st Toronto International Film Festival (September 8th-18th, 2016). The Toronto Platform Film Competition is the most prestigious film competition within the Toronto International Film Festival.

The three member jury of the Toronto Platform Prize was comprised of ‘legendary filmmakers Brian De Palma, Mahamat Saleh Haroun and acclaimed Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon actress Zhang Ziyi.

While presenting the awards, Zhang Ziyi said that Hema Hema was “…a film that is a metaphor for our time. In an age of technology, this film uses masks to reconnect its characters with human instinct and emotion.”

To put the Bhutanese film’s achievement in perspective: The Toronto International Film Festival gets over 7,000 applications from around the world, out of which 250 are chosen. From the 250 films, only 12 films are shortlisted for the Toronto Platform Prize.

Hema Hema was the only Asian film shortlisted. “For a film made in Bhutan on a shoestring budget, amateur actors and mainly young, novice Bhutanese technicians to be competing with mega-budget movies from Hollywood with stars like Natalie Portman and emerge at the top is indeed a remarkable feat, something that all Bhutanese should be happy about and proud of,” said producer of the film Pawo Choyning Dorji.

The delegation from Bhutan to the TIFF was led by the film’s Director, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, for whom Hema Hema is the fourth feature film. Producer Pawo Choyning Dorji, Actors Tshering Dorji and Sadon Lhamo were also there.

Hema Hema had its world premiere at the Festival del film Locarno, in Switzerland before going to Toronto. The film now heads to the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, and before it goes to the London BFI Film Festival in the United Kingdom.

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