Film Screening: Gesar Bard’s Tale and Q&A with director, Donagh Coleman
Tibetan bard Dawa strives to keep an ancient tradition alive in a fast-modernizing world until a devastation earthquake strikes. Tibetan Gesar bard Dawa’s story opens out to larger themes of tradition and modernization as well as environmental issues. However, what is most intriguing- and what got the film started– is the inspired bard’s amazing talent and worldview. This film tries to see the world through Dawa’s eyes. For him, Tibet’s mythical hero King Gesar is a real, living presence, and the epic describes historical events. Dawa also interprets today’s world through the worldview of the epic that has infused him since his teens. And so events and trends that past Tibet-documentaries have looked at from a Western or Chinese point-of-view take on new, mythical meanings in the eyes of the visionary bard.
Born in Philadelphia, Donagh grew up Finland, Ireland and the U.S. He studied Philosophy and Psychology in Trinity College Dublin, continuing there with a Masters in Music and Media Technologies. Donagh has also spent long periods in India, China, and Tibet, and much of his work has involved these regions and cultures. A documentary-maker working both in film and radio, Donagh’s previous films include Stone Pastures (a Finnish-Irish-English co-production, with wide international festival exposure, and winner of the Grand Prix prize at the 2009 Cervino Cinemountain Festival in Italy) and Une Année Sur Le Toit Du Monde commissioned for ARTE’s primetime Decouverte-slot. Apart from RTE, Donagh makes radio documentaries for the Finnish National Broadcaster YLE. He has also worked for current affairs television and radio in Beijing as well as writing for Finnish newspapers on Asian subjects. Donagh is currently based in Helsinki with his Tibetan wife.