Skip to content

UH Hilo welcomes filmmakers and screens two Himalayan documentaries

UH Hilo Home > News and Events > UH Hilo Press Releases

Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The College of Continuing Education and Community Service at the University of Hawaii at Hilowill be screening two documentaries, Spirit of the Himalayas and Dreaming of Tibet. Showtime is Tuesday, November 8, at 7 p.m. in UCB 100. Both films are produced by John Antonelli and directed by Will Parrinello of Mill Valley Film Group and both Antonelli and Parrinello will be at the screening. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Spirit of the Himalayas (U.S., 2002, 30 min.) is shot in the ancient city of Katmandu, Nepal, and in the surrounding Himalayan Mountains. The film depicts the stark contrast between the spectacular beauty of the remote mountains and the incredible hardships the indigenous people face, many living without what Western civilization would consider the basic necessities. The film features interviews with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary, the legendary conqueror of Mt. Everest, and his Sherpa guide, Norbu Tenzing Norgay.

Dreaming of Tibet (U.S., 2005, 56 min.) is an intimate documentary narrated by well-known character actor Peter Coyote, which examines the lives of three extraordinary Tibetans, who like the Dalai Lama and over 150,000 of his followers, live in exile and who have created a “virtual Tibet” in the face of overwhelming adversity.

“There’s a monk who is in the foothills of the Mt. Everest region,” Parrinello said. “He’s up at about 12,000 feet and there’s the nurse who runs the clinic at the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center in Katmandu. She’s pretty remarkable, because in the 10-plus years that she’s worked there, she’s seen about 30,000 exiles who have come through. So at some level, she is probably the foremost expert in the world on what that is like.

“The third person is a woman who came from Nepal to the United States to go to Marquette University on a scholarship. She lives in Los Angeles. She works in a hospital in Los Angeles as a lab administrator, but she’s in the film because she’s a political activist. And being in America, she has more freedom to voice her opinion about the political issues than those in Nepal, because their lives are quite tentative there. Although the Nepalese government allows the Tibetans to live there, it does not allow them the rights and privileges of citizens. The government of Nepal has become stronger in its alliance with the Chinese government, and the quid pro quo for infrastructure and other aid is coming down on the Tibetans.

“She’s an interesting figure, because she takes what is, for many people, this colorful, exotic culture that can be easily idealized and can make it real, because she is now an American.”

Parrinello says that he and Antonelli were inspired to make Dreaming of Nepal while visiting the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center while filming Spirit of the Himalayas.

“When we were there, it was just a touching, moving experience to see these mostly young people, ages about eight to 21 people, who had gone over these treacherous, life-threatening 19,000-foot passes, wearing mostly cheap Chinese sneakers, cotton jackets and rucksacks,” he explained. “Some of them had frostbite. I know it sounds trite, but they were really sweet people and we got a good vibe from them.

“We really didn’t know a lot about Tibet or the Tibetan issue at that point. We knew about the Dalai Lama; we knew the basics, but nothing in depth at all. But we were moved by the people, and when we talked about why they were there with the people who were running this clinic, we just thought this is so wrong. These people are incredible and they are suffering, and why? That inspired us to look into the whole thing and to want to make the film.”

For more information, call CCECS at 974-7664.

Disclaimer: The University of Hawaii at Hilo is not responsible for the contents, links and/or materials presented in any web site listed above that are not of the "" or "" domains. All comments, complaints and grievances should be filed with the author, host and/or owner of said site.