Denver Film Festival: When the Iron Bird Flies
Description: Iliff is a sponsor of the film, “When the Iron Bird Flies: Tibetan Buddhism Arrives in the West,” showing at the Denver Film Festival Nov. 3.
Director Victress Hitchcock (Blessing: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet) traces the evolution of Buddhism from the isolated caves of Tibet to the bustling metropolises of the West. Since the Chinese forced the Dali Lama from his homeland in 1959, banned Buddhist practices, traditions, and spiritual teachings have managed to survive in unlikely new locations. More than 50 years later, Buddhist meditation centers thrive in every major city in the Western world. The Dalai Lama counts more than 5 million followers on Twitter. Does the future of Buddhism reside in the West?
When the Iron Bird Flies presents this astounding transformation through historic black- and-white footage of the Dalai Lama’s escape, testimonials from new practitioners, and interviews with famous and not-so-famous believers. Among the film’s Buddhist spokespersons are actor Richard Gere and teacher Chögyam Trungpa, founder of the Naropa Institute in Boulder. In one of the film’s most powerful moments, former drug smuggler Fleet Maull relates his story of finding peace through Buddhist meditation in a prison cell. The film also addresses male/female roles, and shows how a Buddhist nun broke through traditional barriers to become the first to receive her Geshe degree, an honor previously limited to male monks.
Hitchcock and her team traveled to Nepal, England, India, Mexico, and the United States to make this inspirational film.
Date: Nov. 3, 4:30-7 p.m.
Location: Denver FilmCenter//Colfax, Lowenstein CulturePlex, 2510 East Colfax, Denver