Includes: Interview with Lobsang Phuntsok | Interview with the filmmakers | Directors' Commentary | Additional Scenes | Short films about Jhamtse Gatsal
On a remote mountaintop of the Himalayas sits Jhamtse Gatsal (Tibetan for “The Garden of Love and Compassion”), a special school and home for 85 abandoned and neglected children.
Founded by former Buddhist monk Lobsang Phunstok, who trained under the Dalai Lama, this unique community gives boys and girls the chance to escape extreme poverty and grow up in an environment where they are free to be themselves and dream about their future.
The inspiring documentary Tashi and the Monk tells the story of Lobsang, whose own dark childhood led him to create this safe haven, and his newest arrival, feisty five-year-old Tashi, who was neglected and abandoned by her parents. It shows how kindness and empathy can transform lives, spotlighting one man’s altruistic vision and the journey of one troubled child who, with the help of a supportive community, is able to overcome her past and start anew.
Directed by Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke, Tashi and the Monk won the 2016 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary and has won 26 festival prizes including the International Documentary Association’s Best Short and Pare Lorentz Awards.
"Compassion in action." - Banff Mountain Film Festival
"Charming and thoughtful" - Forbes
"A sweet surprise." - Washington Post
"As uplifting a film as you'll ever see." - The Week
"A lovely reminder that amongst the darkness in the world, there are also beautiful shining points of light." – Mountainfilm
"Mountains can be brutal places to live. Perhaps this goes some way towards explaining how Tibetan Buddhism has developed such a keen sense of compassion for all beings. Many westerners may have heard of these profound ideals, but in this film we are able to witness compassion in action. The experience is both surprising and humbling." – Jury at Banff Mountain Film Festival on awarding Tashi and the Monk Best Film on Mountain Culture.
"The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of the film's kaupapa (themes), and its lyrical dance among spaces of emotional desolation, innocent joy and redemption through uncritical love." – Jury at Documentary Edge Festival New Zealand on awarding Tashi and the Monk Best International Short.
"Filmmakers Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke’s Tashi and the Monk centers on an eminent humanitarian figure in Tibetan Buddhism (who is not a certain Dalai Lama): Lobsang Phuntsok, a once unwanted boy who was written off as incorrigible and left at a monastery. Phuntsok matured and became deeply concerned with the welfare of other lost children. Leaving the temple life, he founded the Jhamtse Gatsai Children's Home in the Himalayan foothills of northern India, a commune-like haven that emphasizes mutual support and compassion—as opposed to professional counselors and career social workers. Five-year-old Tashi Drolma is a spirited girl troublemaker, a newcomer to the community, although much of the real drama here lies instead in the heartache of desperate families whose surplus kids, unlike Tashi, do not make it into Jhamtse Gatsai's small population... Opening a window onto the plight of the impoverished in a part of the world more associated with mountaineering adventure and visual splendor, this is recommended." - Video Librarian