GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER
to exclusively stream premiere of new doc
by local filmmaker Seth McClellan
OTHERS BEFORE SELF,
a profile of a Himalayan school started by the Dalai Lama
to keep Tibetan traditions alive
in virtual cinema July 2- August 5
Oak Park, Illinois filmmaker Seth McClellan's (LITTLE WOUND'S WARRIORS) new documentary about Tibetan refugee children in the Indian Himalayas, OTHERS BEFORE SELF, will stream exclusively in the Gene Siskel Film Center’s virtual cinema from Friday, July 2 through Thursday, August 5.
OTHERS BEFORE SELF is an hour-long portrait of Tibetan Children's Village, a boarding school started by the Dalai Lama for refugees from Tibet and their children. Through candid interviews and stunning footage of the young people and the community they share with their teachers and elders, the film engages with the Tibetan religious beliefs and traditions taught at the school and how they inform the students' worldview. The film spotlights how the students are keeping Tibetan culture alive after China’s annexation of their country.
A tenured instructor of mass communication at Triton College and resident of Oak Park, McClellan says, "This new film is something of a follow-up to my last documentary, LITTLE WOUND’S WARRIORS, that profiled young people on a Native reservation in South Dakota. I'm really interested in and trying to raise awareness about how kids understand and engage with their larger political and social context, particularly kids in traumatized populations. Both films try to engage with what happens to communities when the invaders, the USA or China in these cases, forbid the practice of the more vulnerable cultures' traditions. How does that impact the people and particularly children? Both films are about young people trying to keep their cultures alive in reaction to colonization and genocide."
The film was shot by McClellan in Dharamsala in northern India in the summer of 2019. McClellan says, “Because of the chaos of COVD-19, we delayed the release but are now proud to start getting it out there. It'll stream across North America for July and then we'll take it to Europe and India in the fall and winter."
McClellan adds, “It was my great pleasure to meet and get to document these wise people and beautiful, ancient culture. I hope the film will be seen by the participants and Tibetan community as something valuable and truthful. I was so impressed by the perseverance that I saw in both the young and old. Tibetans in China continue to be imprisoned and tortured and killed but the refugee community in India remains committed to teaching nonviolence and compassion - others before self."
OTHERS BEFORE SELF streams via the Gene Siskel Film Center’s virtual cinema from July 2- August 5, 2021.
About the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 85,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,500 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit siskelfilmcenter.org to learn more and find out what’s playing today.