Mustang - Journey of Transformation is a 30-minute documentary that tells the remarkable story of a Tibetan culture pulled back from the brink of extinction through the restoration of its most sacred sites. Narrated by Richard Gere, the film features interviews with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the King of Mustang, and Luigi Fieni, the chief art conservator of Mustang's ancient Buddhist masterpiecesThe Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang lies on a high and windswept plateau between northwestern Nepal and Tibet in one of the most remote regions in the world. Although Mustang is culturally and ethnically Tibetan, politically it is part of Nepal. At a time when Tibetan culture in Tibet is in danger of disappearing under China's occupation, Mustang remains uniquely preserved. This starkly beautiful place is home to one of the last surviving repositories of Tibetan sacred art from the 15th century. To travel here is to journey into the past where one can witness ancient Tibetan ways of life.
Because our land is filled with untouched monasteries from the 15th century and our government is based on Buddhist teachings, some say we are the last remaining Tibetan kingdom.
— Jigme Palbar Bista, King of Mustang
In 1991 Nepal opened Mustang's border to the outside world. What the first visitors found was shocking — the ancient monasteries were on the verge of collapse; the Buddhist wall paintings were disintegrating; the community was deeply impoverished. The people needed health care, education, and jobs. Surprisingly, the King's first plea to outsiders offering help was to save the monasteries. The King understood...saving the art would save the people, because without cultural identity there is nothing. Mustang - Journey of Transformation is a tale of hope and rebirth told by the people who are helping save this once Forbidden Kingdom.
— Tsewang Bista, Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation
Storytellers include John Sanday, world renowned architectural restoration specialist; Richard Blum, founder of the American Himalayan Foundation, the NGO that worked closely with the community to restore the monasteries and bring essential social services to the people; and Tsewang Bista, nephew of the King and a founder of the Lo Gyalpo Jigme Foundation, a local NGO that manages the restoration and humanitarian projects.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
— Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama