EXCLUSIVE: UK sales company Parkland Pictures has picked up worldwide sales rights to feature documentary Never Forget Tibet about the Dalai Lama.
Featuring exclusive access to the 14th Dalai Lama and narrated by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), the film details the religious leader’s daring escape from the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 and is told on film for the first time in his own words with the late Har Mander Singh, the Indian political officer who led him safely to India.
With an original score by artist Anouska Shankar and inspired by the book An Officer and His Holiness by Rani Singh, the film is produced and directed by Jean-Paul Mertinez.
Executive producers are Gary Collins for Red Rock Entertainment, Lyndon Baldock and Gavin Patterson for Templeheart Films, and correspondent Rani Singh.
The film features rare archival photographs taken by Austrian explorer Heinrich Harrer, who became a confidant and informal tutor to the teenage Dalai Lama. Harrer’s true-life chronicle, Seven Years in Tibet, first published in 1952, was famously made into a Brad Pitt movie.
Included in the film are the secret letters written between the Dalai Lama, India’s PM Nehru and British PM Macmillan at the time of the 1959 escape.
Never Forget Tibet is intended to be the first of three feature documentaries that Jean-Paul Mertinez is making about the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism and contemporary world culture. The film will be available to buyers s a 90 minute feature length documentary and also as a 60 minute broadcast version.
Director Jean-Paul Mertinez said: “We’re delighted to be working with Andrew Brown and his team at Parkland Pictures. We’ve received a lot of interest in Never Forget Tibet from around the world and it’s more timely than ever this film goes out and shares the first-hand account of the dramatic escape of His Holiness. By combining this incredible story with Tibetan music, prayers and ancient mantras we hope the film conveys some of the beauty and depth of Tibetan culture for audiences to enjoy and experience for themselves. In these strange times we are all living through, it’s essential we share our love and compassion with each other and the natural world. This is at the heart of the Dalai Lama’s message.”