Tibetan journalist and filmmaker Tsering Wangmo has scooped up three coveted awards at the My Hero International Film Festival for 2019 with her short documentary entry Conversations with My Mother.
The experimental documentary that explores the life of her beloved mother has garnered Wangmo the prestigious 2019 Eva Haller Women Transforming Media Award in the student division of the My Hero International Film Festival, as well as winning her first place in the festival’s Experimental film category, and the 2019 Emerging Artist Award.
“Tsering’s unique gentle voice moves the audience into a firsthand experience of her intimate, loving, and respectful relationship with her mother,” said My Hero International Film Festival director Wendy Milette. “The emerging artist award recognizes filmmakers who show promise with their talents and storytelling skills. Tsering shows great promise.” (Phayul.com)
Wangmo was born in India to Tibetan refugee parents, whom she cites as the main inspiration for her work. She studied journalism at Madras Christian College in southern India and mass communication at Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) in northern India, before taking a course in documentary filmmaking in New York. A grant from the Rowell Fund for Tibet enabled Wangmo to capture the lives of Tibetan nomads in her documentary Tales from the Pasture, which received the Jury Award & Audience Award at the Tibet Film Festival Short Film Competition 2018 in Dharamsala.
“My mother and I have been close from the very beginning of my life. She had never been to school and had lived as a nomad until a few years after the birth of my eldest sister,” said Wangmo of her relationship with her mother. ‘Despite the daily struggles, both of my parents had a strong commitment to the education of their children. My mother has always kept the comfort of her family before her own. She has a great sense of humor, and when we sit together, we always have long conversations and we also laugh a lot. She and my father are the reasons I am who I am today. My mother is my friend and my teacher, who taught me to live life with love and compassion.
“She was forced to leave her home in Tibet at the age of eight, and yet never once have I heard her say anything bad toward the Chinese armies who drew their family out [of] their country. She is a strong woman in every sense, and whenever I am in stress or hold a negative attitude toward anything, she is the person who helps me look at life or the situation differently. I am not surprised at the exceptional wisdom that she holds because she has lived through an exceptional life.” (My Hero)
Wangmo added that she is now working on a documentary that tells the story of Tibetan refugees arriving in India and the experiences and obstacles they encountered during their initial years in exile. In addition, she is researching her first screenplay, drawing inspiration from her father’s life, and expects to complete the first draft by mid-2020.
“My parents are my heroes because of the strength, love, kindness, and compassion that they hold despite the difficulties they have had to live with,” Wangmo observed. “My parents are my heroes because they saw beyond the constraints of the circumstances and built hope and dreams for us to reach the unimaginable and the exceptional.” (My Hero)
Established in 1995, the My Hero Project is a US-based non-profit organization established that seeks to identify positive role models from around the world, with a primary focus on education and promoting the use of new media and technology. Alongside the My Hero International Film Festival, initiatives include providing teaching tools for educators, holding educational media workshops in the US and internationally, and partnering with other non-profit educational organizations. As of 2013, the project had extended its reach to 194 countries.