The Swiss festival opened the event on October 26th and 27th 2012, with the Dharamshala event; hosted at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, running on the 27th and 28th October.
While both events premiered fictional films such as "A Girl from China" (by Sonam Tseten), "Old Dog" (by Pema Tseden) and documentaries such as "Tibet in Song" (Ngawang Choephel), the two host nations differed with guest speakers and live performances.
A vast array of Short Films, which involved a competition and votes for the audience award, live music, talks with participants of the competition and panel discussions added colour and vibrancy to the festival.
The official social media ‘Twitter' profile of the Tibet Film Festival stated during the event: "Very happy with the turnout. Zurich record audience. TIPA packed".
The Tibet Film festival itself began four years ago, in an effort to bring attention to the unheard voices of the Tibetan people. According to ‘Filming for Tibet':
‘Gyaljong Tsetrin founded Filming for Tibet in 2008, in order to realize his cousin Dhondup Wangchen's dream of bringing unheard Tibetan voices to the world stage, during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Filming for Tibet is incorporated as a non-profit organization in Switzerland. Its mission is to support the work of Tibetan filmmakers and the people of Tibet. Leaving Fear Behind is its first production'.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa praised the role of the medium of film this October; addressing the Film Festival organisers in Dharamshala India. He highlighted the responsibility of film-making, and the manner in which Tibetans are trying to use video and film as a means to communicate to the outside world, amid the desperate situation within the region.
It is with great anticipation that the Tibet Film Festival becomes an annual event in both India and Switzerland. Poignantly however, the fact that Dhondup Wangchen (who filmed Leaving Fear Behind; the first film by the organisers) remains detained by Chinese authorities since March 2008 on charges related to the documentary; highlights the crucial need to magnify the voices of Tibetans through the medium of film.