Behind the Scenes of The Road To Peace
A Personal Message From the Director-Producer
In the media The Dalai Lama has been largely portrayed as a political leader concerned with the Tibet issue. However, as someone interested in Buddhism and Spirituality, I was acutely aware that His Holiness commands respect as one of the great philosophers and religious leaders of the 21st Century: a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a figurehead who propelled Buddhism onto the Western stage.
I was driven to make this film partially because of my own curiosity about the man behind the myth. What does he do behind the scenes? Does he really have the incredible presence that people who have met him always refer to? In addition, like anyone else who is striving for happiness, I hoped that what he shared would move me in some way and teach me how to live a more centred, peaceful life.
“I was not disappointed.”
Making this film not only gave me the opportunity to spend time with the Dalai Lama, but also to share his wisdom with other people. I set out to share a more personal reflection of the man and his unique philosophy and show how engaging and accessible he is to everyone he meets. I discovered that he is a rare personal example of how we can all lead a happier, more peaceful life.
I hope you enjoy this film and leave inspired by the Dalai Lama’s central message of Universal Responsibility, Peace and Compassion.
At the New York City Premier with Nawang Khechog, Tushar Gandhi and David Sanborn
“Making a film about the Dalai Lama has changed my life, in ways that I could never have predicted.
When I became interested in Buddhism, I started looking for films about the Dalai Lama. I was told by friends and family who had glimpsed him that he was someone special; that he had an incredible energy or presence. I didn’t want to convert to Buddhism but I did want to find a happier, more peaceful life. He sounded like a man who was an example of how we can live life in a very different way.”
The Story Behind the Film
When I started becoming interested in Buddhism about 15 years ago, I started looking for films about the Dalai Lama. I’d heard his name many times, I was told by friends and family who had glimpsed him that he was someone special; that he had an incredible energy or presence. I didn’t want to convert to Buddhism but I did want to find a happier, more peaceful life.
Of all the films I watched, I couldn’t find one that captured the ‘spirit’ that people spoke of. There were glimpses, fleeting moments following him around. Or there were films that had intimate moments with him but they concentrated on The Dalai Lama as a political leader.
In those films he seemed depressed. This wasn’t the man that I’d heard about from people who spoke of meeting him. A man who is always laughing, a man who radiates peace and compassion. A man who made such an impression on the people he had met that it changed their lives.
Fast forward a couple of years to 2007 and whilst fellow film-maker Scott Samson was speaking with the Office of Tibet in London, they asked if we’d like to put forward a proposal to film the Dalai Lama’s UK visit the following year. I immediately knew the film we should make.
We created our pitch: an intimate fly-on-the-wall film that asked the question “what is it like to meet the Dalai Lama?” We couldn’t believe it when the Office of Tibet accepted our proposal.
We had to finance, produce the film ourselves. With such a rare opportunity, we went ahead nonetheless. After all, we were going to spend nearly two weeks with the Dalai Lama!
The filming was incredible and the access we had was unbelievable. On top of that we were granted an interview with him. We couldn’t quite believe our luck. We were so close to the Dalai Lama for 11 days. We had a truly unique perspective of how he was with people every day. Access like this was rarely given.
The process of editing and test screenings took four years. During that time I met the love of my life and we had two children. Whilst juggling parenthood, I was financing Road to Peace with freelance documentary editing work. This meant the process was slower than a typical film production, but instinctively this didn’t seem to matter.
“What started as a curiosity shifted my whole perspective on life.”
At the heart of the Dalai Lama’s message is “Universal Responsibility”. We all have a responsibility for our own well-being and the environment in which we live. From there we can create peace and harmony, but we need to start with ourselves. But it is my hope that Road to Peace shows The Dalai Lama as a living example of how we can all live a more loving and compassionate life and has captured his spiritual and humanitarian message for this and future generations.
Director and Producer, Road to Peace Films
With extensive experience in documentary editing and production Road to Peace Films is committed to making and supporting positive and ethical productions.