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I’m always wary of documentaries.  They are usually pretty formulaic, and some are very torturous, melodramatic and biased.  This one proceeded quite delightfully.

I really liked the community involvement in the mural and the organizing artist did a fantastic job.  I loved the orchestra conductor who arranged the Tibetan music and infused Western elements.  I loved the American kid who sang the song by the lake at the end.  I loved how just a few individuals really were the core behind this immense festival, especially the photographer, the one musician, and the restaurant couple.  And I loved how the American town embraced it.

This movie will be a treasure for the world.

Patrick Muller, artist, Iowa City, Iowa



I was so moved by the premiere of your documentary last night.  You showcased the art and culture of Tibet so well and went deep into the plight of their country.  I can relate to what a daunting task it was to put this documentary together. It was just a year ago that I started to research the Tibetan decorative style and was overwhelmed by the depth of meaning that every element and motif symbolized.  It made for a very challenging task to extrapolate this into a community art project. All of the interviews you put together really put a face on this plight. 

I didn’t know all of Yangchen’s story, her passion and dedication to the Tibetan people is inspiring.  Amy’s statement in the film comparing the Tibetan exile and occupation to what happened to the native Americans in this country 200 years ago really drove home the gravity of what is at stake here.  I’ve been watching the Ken Burns documentary series about the West and have been horrified by the genocide that took place.  Some of those tribes are lost forever, whole cultures wiped out.  The awareness that your documentary will bring to what is going on in Tibet will help keep this culture alive.

One of the last questions to the panel last night was “What can people do to help the Tibetans?”  My response to that would be to show this documentary to everyone you know. If you’re from other areas of this country urge your hometown PBS to show this documentary.

I so hope this will go viral and will do what I can to spread the word.  Also I have to say the title “Arts in Exile” is brilliant.

Congratulations on a masterpiece that will hopefully resonate globally.

Sue Burdick Young, artist and panelist at the premiere, Jay, New York