Discover Dalai Lama

A couple months ago I received a really exciting phone call from Dan Griffin and Robin Garthwait of GG Films, who are producing a fascinating project for the The Dalai Lama Foundation called Discover the Dalai Lama.

Discover the Dalai Lama

The project will be a virtual library for people to explore the complete living history of the Dalai Lama online with videos multimedia, and interactive exhibits.

Director of Photography

I helped with this film trailer, as the director of photography, on the reenactment of the Dalai Lama fleeing Tibet for India in 1959. Thanks to the excellent location producing by Dan Griffin and Robin Garthwait the actors, real props, horses, hand painted background, and location were all brought together without a hitch (wink).

All I had to do was figure out how to recreate moonlight and shoot the scene with a feeling of edgy nervousness that was in the air that night in 1959, while not getting kicked by the horses.

I love shooting with tricky controlled camera motion, so this was fun. I used 3-axis gimbals mounted on a large monopod, with some custom double hand grips, so I could easily go from shooting high angle horse perspectives and down low to the actor feet and horse hooves on the ground in one fluid move.

As you can see from the photo below, Dan Griffin and Robin Garthwait assembled a great production team to get this trailer produced.

Finding the Dalai Lama (from Today I Found Out)

As a supremely enlightened being, when a Dalai Lama shuffles off his mortal coil, he doesn’t just expire, he practices conscious dying. Called phowa, the process involves the transference of the consciousness, just at the time of death, into one of the Buddha forms, thus avoiding the bardo and reincarnating by choice.

Back on Earth, a committee of sorts comprised of High Lamas and Tibetan governmental officials begin the search for the reincarnated tulku by consulting the Nechung Oracle, the official seer of Tibet. In the past, the High Lamas next traveled to Lhamo Lhatso, made sacred to the Dalai Lamas by the promise of a spirit who resided there, Palden Lhamo, to protect their reincarnation. There, the High Lamas meditated beside the lake and experienced visions and dreams that guided their search. If the Dalai Lama had been cremated, the direction the smoke blew was also noted with great interest. Typically, it takes two to three years to find the reincarnated Dalai Lama, although with the latest, the 14th, it took four.

Discover Dalai Lama – Video Trailer