Local film festival brings the East, west

The Ybor Festival of the Moving Image starts today, and this year’s theme is Global Snapshots.

The festival will feature 80 movies from around the world and workshops paneled by professional filmmakers. One featured film is Daughters of Wisdom, a documentary about nuns living in Tibet. Director Bari Pearlman sat down to talk about her eight-week stay in a monastery.

The Oracle: Why did you want to make a film about this topic?Bari Pearlman: I was actually invited to make the film by Lama Norlha Rinpoche, who founded the monastery. He had said to me when I met him (that) the next time I go to Tibet, “would I come and make a film?” That seemed like a pretty great invitation.

TO: Was it hard filming in Tibet?BP: It was definitely the opposite of any experience I had ever had. We didn’t have electricity to charge our batteries, so it (was) definitely a difficult living situation and a very extreme filmmaking situation.

TO: How long were you there?BP: We were in Tibet for a total of eight weeks, but it took about a week to get inland to where were going and about a week of travel to get out. So we were really there for a total of six weeks.

TO: What do you hope people will take away from the film?BP: What I have heard from audiences is that they are generally very taken with seeing the kind of experience that women are having around the world, particularly in a spiritual situation. And also how important it is for people to give this kind of education and spiritual opportunity to women.

On a more personal level, I think that we all do look for certain inspiration and understanding about our own complicated and interesting modern lives. It provides a real window into what other people consider priorities in their lives and how they struggle and what they accomplish, even in the face of adversity.

TO: What did you learn from this experience?BP: I learned how fortunate I am to have been born a woman in the West, for starters. I learned a lot about the universality of the human condition. I learned we really do take a lot for granted in our modern, contemporary lives, (and) that we could learn a lot from people who have made a tremendous amount out of nothing. And I learned that it is really great to have electricity and not work at 14,000 feet when you are making a film.

Pearlman will participate in the festival filmmakers panel: The Documentary – Form and Function, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Ybor Room on Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor Campus. Her film, Daughters of Wisdom, will be shown at 4:30 p.m. in the main theater. For more information about the movie, visit daughtersofwisdom.com. The festival will run through Sunday. For more information visit yborfilmfestival.com.

– Candace Kaw