Message to Shigatse
A BBC journalist works with the Dalai Lama to outwit the Chinese government in the selection of Tibet’s Panchen Lama, all told via a Hitchcock-style suspense drama that echoes films such as Hotel Rwanda and The Killing Fields. Based on Isabel Hilton’s non-fiction book The Search for the Panchen Lama.
Message to Shigatse chronicles how BBC journalist Alison McPherson works secretly with the Dalai Lama to outwit the Chinese government in the selection of Tibet’s 2nd most revered spiritual figure, the Panchen Lama. In this highly suspenseful story, Alison becomes personally involved with the Tibetan “search committee” – led by the heroic Abbot Chadrel Rinpoche – as they put their lives in danger to ensure the Dalai Lama’s plans succeed. Tragically, they are unsuccessful and the six-year old boy selected by the Dalai Lama is imprisoned along with Chadrel Rinpoche and many monks. This situation is especially important because the Panchen Lama is by tradition a key figure in the selection of the Dalai Lama. To this day, the Chinese government has yet to disclose the Panchen Lama’s whereabouts, and have stated they plan to select the next Dalai Lama.
The producers have gathered an incredibly talented team, including four-times Cannes selected director Oliver Schmitz, along with some of the UK’s most popular actors – all well known through international film, the BBC, and British stage. In addition, virtually all Tibetan organizations and the Dalai Lama himself are behind this project, and the producers will tap into the enormous activist and support network of both the Tibetan and human rights/world peace movement when marketing and promoting this film.