Academy Award-winning Director to Present Film at TNCC


Published: April 2, 2009

Thomas Nelson Community College’s Cultural Affairs brings Academy Award-winning director Paul Wagner to the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium Monday, April 13 at 3 p.m. presenting his film “Windhorse.”  The event is free and open to the public on TNCC’s Hampton campus at Templin Hall.

The motion picture was filmed secretly inside Chinese-occupied Tibet and in Nepal and tells the story of three young Tibetans’ search for freedom amidst the clashing cultures of Chinese-occupied Tibet. A trailer of the movie can be viewed at http://www.windhorsemovie.com/aboutWindhorse/.

Wagner’s career producing and directing award-winning films spans 30 years. His documentaries include The Stone Carvers (Emmy and Academy Award), Out of Ireland, the Story of Irish Emigration to America (Sundance Film Festival), Signature: George C. Wolfe (National Education

al Telecommunications Association Best Public Television Program of the Year), and A Paralyzing Fear, the Story of Polio in America (Emmy Award, Eric Barnouw Award for Best Historical Film of 1998).
“Windhorse” was one of the first feature films shot on digital video technology. The film premiered in March 1998 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival garnering “Best U.S. Independent Film” and “Best Director” recognition.

It also played the Toronto and Rotterdam Festivals and received Audience Awards at Washington D.C. and Florida Festivals. “Windhorse” was released theatrically in the U.S. and recently opened in Tokyo.

The Making of “Windhorse”
In October 1996, a small film crew of Americans and Tibetans, including two actors, entered Chinese-occupied Tibet and secretly filmed for one week with a small digital video camera. Several scenes were shot on politically sensitive locations and involved close brushes with Chinese security personnel, according to Wagner’s team.

The rest of the film was shot on sets in Katmandu and at remote locations 12,500 feet up in the Himalayas. Due to potential political repercussions, many Tibetan cast and crewmembers are identified in the credits with the phrase “Name Withheld.”

Even in Nepal, the exact nature of the film project had to be concealed from a Nepali government that often suppresses pro-Tibetan political activities. Following the filming of a highly sensitive anti-Chinese demonstration scene on the last day of production, Nepali officials asked the filmmakers to bring in for review all of the material shot during the project. Fortunately, the valuable footage had been carried out of the country a few days earlier.

For more information about the April 13 event, please call Cultural Affairs Chair Shar Wolff at 757-825-2775.

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