Share this film!
Film Info
  • Year: 2009
  • Film Format: DVD
  • Origin: India/UK
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Runtime: 79 mins
  • Color
  • Language: English, Tibetan and Mandarin
  • Subtitles: English

A provocative and potent look at the Dalai Lama’s ceaseless struggle for justice and recognition for the Tibetan people,The Sun Behind the Clouds focuses on the pivotal and particularly tumultuous events of 2008. From the four-month march of exiled Tibetans to the Indo-Tibet border and Buddhist monks’ protests in Lhasa, to the Beijing Olympics and the contentious talks between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s emissaries, the film uncovers the growing rifts between younger Tibetans and their most respected spiritual leader.

While His Holiness advocates for political autonomy within China rather than secession from it, a younger generation within Tibet has grown impatient and begun to chart a more confrontational course. Following the Dalai Lama’s political life with unprecedented personal access, Tibetan filmmaker Tenzing Sonam and co-director Ritu Sarin bring an impassioned focus to the myriad complexities in finding a peaceful solution based on compromise and dialogue.

WINNER - BEST OF THE FEST - PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

WINNER - SILVER CONCH - MUMBAI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

CLOSING NIGHT - HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH FILM FESTIVAL

OFFICIAL SELECTION - ONE WORLD INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL

Ritu Sarin

Ritu Sarin was born in New Delhi. After graduating from Miranda House in Delhi, she did her MFA in film and video at the California College of the Arts in Oakland.

Tenzing Sonam

Tenzing Sonam was born in Darjeeling in northeastern India to Tibetan refugee parents. He graduated from St Stephen’s College and then studied broadcast journalism at the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

Ritu and Tenzing have been working together since 1983, when they embarked on their first film, THE NEW PURITANS: THE SIKHS OF YUBA CITY. They lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and then in London for many years before moving back to India in 1996. They currently work out of Dharamsala, New Delhi and London.

Working through their film company, White Crane Films, they have produced and directed several documentaries, specialising in Tibet-related subjects. These include: THE REINCARNATION OF KHENSUR RINPOCHE (1991); THE TRIALS OF TELO RINPOCHE (1993); A STRANGER IN MY NATIVE LAND (1997); and THE SHADOW CIRCUS: THE CIA IN TIBET (1998). In 2005, they completed a dramatic feature film, DREAMING LHASA, executive produced by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Gere. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and screened at over thirty film festivals worldwide. Their single-channel video installation, SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE NATURE OF YOUR EXISTENCE (2007), was shown at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna and at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and will be participating in the 2010 Busan Biennale in South Korea.

THE SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS is their most recent work. The 79-minute film had its North American premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2010 where it was voted one of the Best of the Fest films.

For the past 20 years, the subject of Tibet, in all its many aspects has been their primary focus. Through their work they have attempted to document, question, and reflect on, the issues of exile, cultural identity and political aspiration that confront the Tibetan diaspora. Tenzing has also written at length on these issues. At the same time, they have consciously made an effort to dispel some of the more romanticised and exoticised representations of Tibet and its culture that have found currency in the Western imagination, by taking a more intimate, sensitive and realistic perspective.

Ritu and Tenzing are married and have two children.

Directed by RITU SARIN and TENZING SONAM

Produced by RITU SARIN

Written and Narrated by TENZING SONAM

Executive Producers FRANCESCA VON HABSBURG and LAVINIA CURRIER

Music GUSTAVO SANTAOLALLA

Edited by ANUPAMA CHANDRA, MAHADEB SHI and TENZING SONAM

Camera GRAHAM DAY, JAIMIE GRAMSTON, TENZING SONAM, STEPHEN McCARTHY, JOHN SERGEANT, DILIP VARMA and
TENZIN TSETAN CHOKLAY

Sound SURESH RAJAMANI and MOHANDAS VP

Additional Editing JOHNNY BURKE and ALAN MACKAY

Associate Producers TENZIN TSETAN CHOKLAY and JOHN SERGEANT

Production Coordinator TENZIN CHOKEY GINGULD

Production Manager CLARE CORCORAN

Sound Design GISSY MICHAEL

Colourist TIM O’BRIEN

On-line Editor BEN HEATHER

Post-Production EVOLUTIONS, London

Additional Funding CAMELIA FOUNDATION and ROB LINDEMAN

Co-Producers FRANCE 5, BABETH VANLOO, BOS Holland and
KARMIC FILMS, India

a WHITE CRANE FILMS production in association with
ROLAND FILMS & ARCH COMMUNICATIONS GmbH

Institutional DVD Purchase

  • $249 with PPR
  • $349 with PPR and 3-Year Digital Site License
  • $499 with PPR and Digital Site License Good for Life of Originally Encoded File

Order Form

Open Showing Rental

Prices Vary – Request a Quote

Discounts available for multiple title purchase. Please call for rates.

Educational institutions, film societies, libraries, and non-profit organizations can buy or rent our films.

Public Performance Rights (PPR) are included when you purchase DVDs or BluRays from Zeitgeist at the institutional price. These permit screenings to groups of fewer than 50 people when no admission is charged.

If admission is charged, or if the group is more than 50 people, you need to request a quote for an open showing license.

Digital Site Licenses (DSL) are also available to colleges, universities and libraries in both a 3-year term or for the life of the file.

For more information see Ordering Info or call 212-274-1989.