Spring came to New York with a vengeance. One day it was freezing cold, overcast and miserable, and the next everyone was out in T shirts and shorts! Suddenly, the streets were ablaze with cherry blossoms. Even as we marvelled at the incongruous beauty of flowering trees amidst the concrete canyons of Manhattan, the cherry blossoms began to disintegrate and their fragile petals fell on the sidewalks like snowflakes. The hanami spectacle was over even as it had begun, and one understood why the Japanese have such a special fondness for this most ephemeral of seasons, an annual lesson on beauty and impermanence.
Meanwhile, at the Film Forum, our outreach efforts began to pay off. The first weekend’s gross was the second highest for a single screen release in the US! This doesn’t mean much in financial terms but it’s a huge boost for the film and a good start to what will hopefully be a wider theatrical release. We were encouraged to see so many Tibetans – many of them young – showing up for the screenings, and even more touched by their response to the film.
The film continued its strong run in its second week, and should end with respectable figures when it closes. Our thanks to the many organisations that helped us with our outreach campaign: The Office of Tibet, Tibet Fund, Tibet House, International Campaign for Tibet, Tibetan Youth Congress (NY and NJ), Tibetan Association of NY and NJ, Human Rights Watch and Human Rights in China; and many, many individuals who volunteered their time and support. A special thanks to Phurbu Dorjee la who was tireless in his efforts to promote awareness of the screenings among the Tibetan community and continuously inventive in finding ways of doing this. Lastly, without the active support and collaboration of Students for a Free Tibet, we would never have made it so far. A big thank you to the SFT team, and in particular, to Tendolkar and Yvonne Shen for working so hard to push the film.
As our New York run comes to an end, we received good news from France that the film has just won the Prix du Public (Audience Award) at the Films de Femmes festival in Creteil. Our friends, Diana Kimoto, Tenam and Patrick Mahoney, were there to support the film and we thank them for their efforts.
Now, it’s onwards to Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Washington DC…