Film Premiere: A Mother’s Son

[25 July 2016] Tibet Society hosted the premiere of a new documentary film, A Mother’s Son, by Nawang N. Anja-Tsang, at the University of Westminster on 22 July 2016. The film examines the self-immolation of a young Tibetan in exile and analyses the consequences on the Tibetan community.

Trailer | Screenings | Synopsis & Background | Premiere

(Please note: there are short clips of self-immolations in the trailer and film.)


The premiere was held on 22 July 2016 in London (see below). Future screenings will be listed here.

Interested in organising a screening of A Mother’s Son?
If you are interested in organising a screening in your area please email and we will put you in contact with the Director.

Synopsis & Background

PosterA Mother’s Son (60 mins, 2016) tells the heart-rending tale of 16-year old Dorjee Tsering who sets himself on fire as his way of trying to get the world to focus on the terrible situation in Tibet. The controversial tactic of self-immolation is sensitively handled in the film, which includes interviews with Dorjee’s relatives and friends and statements from the Karmapa and the Sikyong (Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile) Lobsang Sangay.

Norman Baker (President of Tibet Society) says of the film, “Self-immolations are a controversial tactic, not least with Tibetans themselves but Nawang handles the topic with sensitivity and fine judgement. The use of interviews with family members, and indeed footage of Dorjee himself, turn the abstract into the real and we the audience are implicitly brought into the story and the desperation and moral dilemmas thrown up. This is a powerful film and well worth a watch.”

Nawang N. Anja-Tsang is a UK-based Tibetan and is the director of Little Tibet (2011), Little Tibet 2 (2014) and Drensol (2015). A Mother’s Son is Nawang’s fourth film.

Dorjee Tsering self-immolated on 29 February 2016 in Dehra Dun, northern India. On the same day, 18-year old monk Kalsang Wangdu set fire to himself in Kardze county, eastern Tibet. Both called for independence for Tibet during their protests. Kalsang died shortly after his protest.

Whilst being treated in hospital, Dorjee said he had wanted to take action for his country and hoped it would bring international attention. He died on 3 March.

Read Tibet Society’s news report (3 March)

Film Premiere

A Mother’s Son was premiered in London at the University of Westminster on 22 July 2016 to an audience of approximately 150 people. The screening was co-hosted by the Centre for the Study of Democracy (University of Westminster).

The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Producer and Director Nawang N. Anja-Tsang, Tibet Society’s President Rt Hon Norman Baker and Professor Dibyesh Anand (Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster).

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