Showcase Ceremony of ICH Documentaries in Bhutan

Showcase Ceremony of ICH Documentaries in Bhutan © Loden Foundation

The showcase ceremony of the Bhutan ICH documentaries supported by ICHCAP was held on 17 October in Thimphu, Bhutan.

ICHCAP partnered with the Loden Foundation, a civil society organization (CSO) that supports Bhutan’s culture and traditions, education, and social entrepreneurship, to produce ten 25-minute documentaries. Representatives and experts from Bhutan’s major cultural institutions, including the Ministry of Home and Culture Affairs and the National Library and Archives, attended to celebrate the successful conclusion of the cooperative project and the completion of the documentary series.

Bhutan’s documentary film series chronicles ten ICH elements among various rituals, festivals, traditional knowledge, and performing arts that have been transmitted from generation to generation by different local communities. Two documentaries were screened at the showcase, introducing the yak-iha (Yak Ritual), a pre-Buddhist ritual of seasonal offerings to the gods in an alpine yak pastoral household, and the tashi gomang, a portable shrine traditionally carried across the country on the backs of traveling priests.

yak-lha (Yak Ritual) © Loden Foundation
Minister of Home and Culture Affairs, H.E. Ugyen Dorji, who attended the showcase, expressed gratitude for ICHCAP’s support and the efforts of the Loden Foundation for their systematic research and investigation to enhance the visibility of Bhutanese ICH. He also urged that activities to safeguard ICH in a contemporary context be related to the way of life of the communities and create meaningful value within the process.

Dr. Karma Phuntsho, the founder of the Loden Foundation, expressed his hope that the ICH video production project would have documented Bhutan’s diverse languages and cultures, thereby expanding intergenerational communication. He also emphasized that, although Bhutan is recently experiencing rapid cultural change, which is fundamental and far-reaching from all the other shifts, it is necessary to balance modernity with tradition while taking into account the importance of cultural roots for everyone to blend harmoniously without a break between generations.

tashi gomang © Loden Foundation
ICHCAP has been implementing the ICH video production project since 2015 to capture the ICH being practiced and to inform the public about the sociocultural value of ICH. As a result, ICHCAP has collaborated with fifteen countries in Central, Southeast, and South Asia to produce a total of 150 documentary films. The produced films are screened at international film festivals and broadcasting stations to introduce ICH to the public while being used as educational materials in schools and research institutes, contributing to narrowing the distance between ICH for future generations. Bhutan’s documentary films will be available on ICHCAP’s YouTube channel in 2023.