Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (2021)

Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji Run Time: 110 min. Rating: NR Release Year: 2020

Country: Bhutan
Language: Dzongkha


Returning to the Film Center as part of ICYMI: Winter Season 2022, a curated selection of films you might have missed.


About the film:

Winner of audience awards for Best Feature Film and Best of the Fest at the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival. A disillusioned schoolteacher is transferred to the most remote school in the world, cut off from modern life deep in the Himalayan glaciers. In a classroom with no electricity or even a blackboard, he finds himself with only a yak and a song that echoes through the mountains.

“this big-hearted crowd-pleaser marks a bright debut… an ideal balance of gentle humor and life-affirming drama… irresistibly entertaining”

—Richard Kuipers for Variety

Pawo Choyning Dorji’s Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom received a nomination for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

About the filmmaker:

Pawo Choyning Dorji is a Bhutanese photographer who has contributed to publications like “VICE”, “Esquire”, and “Life”, and has authored a trio of photography essay books. His first foray into filmmaking came when he worked as a director’s assistant for Buddhist Master and filmmaker Khyentse Norbu’s 2013 feature Vara: A Blessing, then as a producer on Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait.

Only the second feature ever submitted to the Academy Awards by Bhutan, Dorji’s debut film Lunana features a charming cast comprised almost exclusively of first-time actors and was filmed in one of the most remote human settlements on the planet in a country that measures progress by the happiness of its citizens. Read more from the filmmaker here.

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