Buddhist Film Festival Europe 2017

29 September - 1 October 2017

For years BFFE aims to find and show films that relate to Buddhism as a living and vital, cultural presence in modernity. That is the practice of Buddhism engaging in the battle between ignorance and enlightenment. The Cineville card is not valid for this festival, but you will get a discount.

BFFE 2017 opens with the film The last Dalai Lama? directed by Mickey Lemle. It provides very intimate access with a portrait about a fearless and compassionate human being, who has been the most influential in the Buddha-dharma encounter with the west. Those that have encountered him in person know that he possesses the ability to know what other people need.

The Dalai Lama personifies that Tibetan Buddhism is both a religion and a science of the mind; he also shares his understanding of the nature of mind, and its part in the creation and alleviation of all of our suffering. Believing that this precious wisdom belongs to the world, twenty years ago the Dalai Lama challenged a select group of world-renowned neuroscientists and mind/brain researchers to look into the workings of the mind, and to prove scientifically that Buddhist methods for overcoming afflictive emotions are skills that can be learned by anyone. On Sunday afternoon a special event will take place in which Mind & Life Europe will share insights with regard to this.

Other films introduce us to the Art of Stillness, stimulating us to honor stillness and to build time-pockets of it into our lives. For many years access to information and movement seemed our greatest luxury; now it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still that feels like the ultimate reward. Where contemplation is not about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then, so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.

Films with compelling human stories, ranging from Japan, Tibet, Myanmar, Bhutan, to the USA and the Netherlands, from dramatic features to contemporary documentaries and art film, exhibit authentic messengers of wisdom, stimulating courage and protest when injustice occurs. To reflect on why most adults in the west don’t practice it, even though meditation is our greatest gateway to everyday transcendence.

In the last twenty years, meditation and mindfulness have gone from being kind of cool to becoming omnipresent. Doing away with common misconceptions and neuro-mythology, authentic teachers demonstrate that the real payoffs are the lasting personality transformations that can be a result, beyond the pleasant states that mental exercises can produce, offering practical salvation and refuge from confusion and terror.

Art in Focus

Bryan Mulvihill is an artist living mainly in Canada, China and India. He has made a life long study of ink brush painting under many Asian masters, in which the goal is to capture the Chi or life force expressed through the movement of the `way of the brush’.

These works are ‘permutations’ of Chan/Zen Buddhist koans or enlightened phrases, written in the four cardinal directions, to create a mandala affect that can be read from all directions. They are inspired by the `Cut-Up’ methods of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs, long time friends of Bryan. These works pay homage to a life long association with Buddhist iconography to constantly re-construct the image allowing the viewer into a magical force of engagement with the process of creative energy, the creativity of sustained open awareness.

Bryan exhibited these calligraffiti works most recently in Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, India, Japan, Norway, Oman, Sharjah and UK.

Tashi Norbu, a contemporary Tibetan artist, will perform a live painting session during the festival. Combining his background – Tibet and Buddhism – with influences from Western icons, Tashi enchanted audiences worldwide.

Accompanied by a short 9 min. film, Light for Freedom. A guided journey through live performance, music and painting, towards an understanding of the recent and recurring Tibetan self-immolations. Directed by Guillermo De la Rosa. Produced by Geoff Doner and Andrea Battersby. Featuring artists Tashi Norbu, Tenzing Rigdol, and human rights activist Sheng Xue.

A Sandmandala for Avolokiteshvara will be created live by Lama Choenyi and Lama Samten during the Festival.


Please come and join us for celebrating contemplative cinema at the 12th Buddhist Film Festival Europe at EYE in Amsterdam. May we contribute to the welfare of all human beings, in dedication,

Babeth M. VanLoo, director BFFE.

Come ! Join us ! Rejoice !

Your support is really needed to enable us to keep doing this.

You may find your way into the nature of mind through creativity;

or you may come out from that nature, to express creativity.

Both are the best of our mind's potential."


~ Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche



Friday, 29 Sep 2017

Saturday, 30 Sep 2017

  • 10:45
    30 Sep 2017

    BFFE - Heart of A Dog

    Laurie Anderson, US 2017

    Heart of a dog fuses materials of Laurie Anderson’s life and art into a greater narrative about love and...

  • 12:30
    30 Sep 2017

    BFFE - Carried by the Sea (+ Water and Ice)

    George Schouten, NL 2017

    Carried by the Sea

    What does the sea do to a human being? The word dukkha in Buddhism is often used...

    Q&A with director George Schouten
  • 14:15
    30 Sep 2017
    film compilation

    BFFE - A Thousand Mothers + Drapchi Elegy + Royal Café


    A Thousand Mothers

    Set at an ancient nunnery above the majestic Irrawaddy River, A Thousand Mothers...

    Q&A with Dazel Tenzin (to be confirmed)
  • 16:30
    30 Sep 2017

    BFFE - Akong, a Remarkable Life

    Chico Dall’Inha, UK 2016

    The incredible life story of Akong Tulku Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist master. At a young age, Akong...

    Q&A with director Chico Dall'Ingha
  • 19:00
    30 Sep 2017

    BFFE - Drokpa - The Last Tibetan Nomads

    Yan Chun Su, US/CN 2016

    Set high on the plateau of eastern Tibet, Drokpa portrays the lives and struggles of one...

    Q&A with director Yan Chun Su
  • 21:15
    30 Sep 2017

    BFFE - My Son Tenzin

    Tsultrim Dorjee/Tashi Wangchuk, US 2016

    My Son Tenzin is a story about an elderly Tibetan monk from Tibet who visits San Francisco Bay area to look...

    Q&A with actor/executive producer Tsering Drojee Bawa. Co-presented by: ICT-International Campaign Tibet

Sunday, 1 Oct 2017

Full program

From A to Z