Student film-makers bound for Kathmandu

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A group of St Andrews students are preparing to fly out to Nepal shortly to make a film about a unique group of religious devotees.

They have arranged to spend a month filming the daily lives and rituals of Tibetan Buddhist nuns at two nunneries in Nepal.

The nuns shave their heads, take up robes and commit to the monastic vows like their male counterparts.

But the students are looking to tell the story of how gender makes the nuns story unique compared to other Buddhists in the region and how modern life impacts and shapes their lives.

The film will also highlight the fact that - despite coming from different backgrounds and, in some cases, from different generations - the women come together through their shared beliefs.

The team will spend the first week building up a rapport with the nuns before agreeing a filming schedule to fit in with the routines and schedules at the convents in Kathmandu.

The students making up the film group come from a cross section of the university. Some are on film studies courses while others are studying subjects as diverse as psychology, anthropology, economics and international relations.

Among them is St Andrews University’s only Tibetan student, Tenzin Dolma (pictured right), who will be in charge of translating for the rest of the team.

They will be backed up by Professor Mario Aguilar from the School of Divinity, Dr Mattia Fumanti from the Department of Anthropology and Dr Robert Burgoyne, head of the film studies department at the university.

Once filming is complete the group will return home and spend a further five months editing their footage and adding a musical composition.

The film, which will be called Daughters of Dolma: The Spiritual Journey of Tibetan Nuns in Nepal, will be released in December and then be submitted to a number of film festivals next year.

The project has so far received financial support from St Andrews the university, the Carnegie UK Trust and the Hugh Richardson Foundation.