DER Documentary

Fate of the Lhapa

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by Sarah Sifers
color, 63 min, 2007

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Fate of the Lhapa is a feature-length documentary about the last three Tibetan shamans (lhapas) living in a Tibetan refugee camp in Nepal. With no other descendants to carry on their healing practices and a younger generation attending schools, acculturating, and modernizing, these "sucking doctors" are practicing an endangered tradition.

Each lhapa requested that their story be filmed so that an historical record would be created. Their fear was that the next heir might not appear until after the old men's deaths. Subsequently, with no lhapa alive to mentor the children, the documentary would be used to transmit the knowledge to the next generation.

These tales of nomadic childhoods, shamanic callings and apprenticeships, cosmologies of disease and treatments, and of their flight from Tibet during the Chinese occupation in the late 1950s will be juxtaposed with images of present-day life in the camp, current healing practices and shared concerns of the future and the fate of their tradition. This is a touching portrayal of life in exile in a refugee camp in Nepal.

Film Festivals
Gold Medal, best music in a documentary, Park City Film Music Festival, Park City, UT, 2008
Moondance Seahorse Award, Moondance International Film Festival, 2007
Maui Film Festival, Hawaii, 2007
Woods Hole Film Festival, 2007
Park City Film Music Festival, Utah, 2008
Athens International Film & Video Festival, Ohio, 2008
XXII Pärnu International Film Festival, Estonia, 2008
Religion Today - International Festival of Cinema & Religion, Trento, Italy, 2008
Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival, Canada, 2008
Taos Mountain Film Festival, New Mexico, 2008
Etnia Film Festival, Finland, 2008
Cultural Diversity: From Past to Future, Second Russian Congress in Cultural Research, St. Petersburg, Russia, 2008
Himalaya Film Festival, The Netherlands, 2008
Tibetan Film Festival, Kino Aero, Czech Republic, 2009
Antigonish International Film Festival, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2009
Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival, 2009

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