[AI] Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak

Divyanshu Ganatra dnganatra at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 01:43:38 EDT 2008

does anyone know how to get this documentary?

On 4/4/08, pamnani <kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Subject: Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
> Film documents blind teens climbing Himalayan peak
> NEW YORK (AP) -- Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to reach the
> 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest and climb the seven summits of the
> world, took on
> a different challenge in 2004: He guided six blind Tibetan teenagers toward
> the 23,000-foot summit of Lhakpa Ri, the peak next to Everest.
> Weihenmayer had received an e-mail from Sabriye Tenberken, a 2005 Nobel
> Peace Prize nominee and co-founder of Braille Without Borders, a school for
> the
> blind in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The students at her school had been
> inspired by Weihenmayer and wanted to meet him.
> He had a different idea.
> "If these kids can climb their own Everest, what a statement that would make
> in the world," Weihenmayer said.
> The resulting three-week journey, its hazards, successes and failures
> unravel in "Blindsight," a documentary by Lucy Walker playing in limited
> release around
> the nation. With the magnificent Himalayas as a backdrop, the film touches
> on the challenges faced by six blind teens in their daily lives and on this
> journey. It casts a lens on Tibet, a region now mired in chaos, and invites
> audiences to see the climbing region now closed to the world as the Beijing
> Olympics approach.
> "We are blind, but our heart is not blind. Normal people's hearts are
> blind," Tenzin, one of the Tibetan teens, said.
> Tenzin, who's 17 years old in the film and whose name means "keeper of
> Buddha's teachings," made the climb with five other Tibetans from his
> school: Dachung,
> Kyila, Sonam Bhumtso, Gyenshen and Tashi.
> Sonam Bhumtso, called the climb a "golden chance." She, like Kyila, comes
> from a loving home, but said she worried her family wouldn't take care of
> her
> for much longer.
> Kyila, on the other hand, had to help take care of her two blind brothers
> and her blind father after her mother died. Dachung lived only with his
> father,
> who has since died.
> The 19-year-old Tashi, whose name means "lucky," becomes the unofficial star
> who faces the most physical and mental adversity on the climb. Born in
> China,
> he said his parents sold him to a couple who brought him to Lhasa to beg.
> When he couldn't collect enough money, he said they beat him, so he ran
> away.
> He lived on the streets for years before a Tibetan woman took him to Braille
> Without Borders.
> Tashi is reunited with his father and mother during the film in a wrenching
> scene. Despite his hardships, Tashi told director Walker: "The best thing
> about
> being blind is that I'm forced to look on the brighter side of things."
> Gyenshen, 17 years old in the film, became blind at 9 and spent four years
> locked in his house, since his parents were ashamed of his condition.
> "He was the smartest boy around, now he's turned into this," Gyenshen's
> mother says in the film. "The cleverest child has gone to waste. Without
> eyes a
> man in not complete."
> Such beliefs are common among Tibetans.
> "It's because of bad deeds in my past life that I am blind in this one,"
> Tenzin said.
> Because of high altitude and exposure to ultraviolet rays, Tibet has high
> rates of blindness and eye disease. The incidence of cataract blindness in
> Tibet
> is about six times that found elsewhere in China, according to UNESCO.
> Despite this, Buddhist pilgrims and nomads in Tibet believe that blind
> people are
> possessed by demons or that they have done something wrong in a past life.
> In the film, two blind teens walk through town and someone calls to them,
> "You deserve to eat your father's corpse."
> "These superstitions can be overcome," Tenberken told the Associated Press.
> She is living proof, and is slowly changing the face of blindness in Tibet
> and around the world.
> Born in Germany, Tenberken became blind by 13. When she later traveled to
> Tibet, she was startled by the Tibetans' treatment of their blind. She also
> found
> that they had no Braille system, so she created one. She met her partner,
> Paul Kronenberg, while in Tibet and they opened the school to pass on the
> techniques
> she had learned to live successfully as a blind person.
> Open for 10 years now, the preparatory school hosts 30 to 35 students who
> stay for two to three years, Tenberken said. After learning techniques and
> studying
> English, Chinese and Tibetan among other subjects, the students integrate
> themselves into regular schools and return home, often to work and thrive.
> "I think the climb was one in many accomplishments for the students,"
> Tenberken said. "It's good to find your own borders and figure out methods
> to get
> around them."
> During the expedition, the top became an impossibility for at least three of
> the climbers, who were sent back after suffering headaches and altitude
> sickness.
> "Part of me felt like a failure," Weihenmayer said. "In some ways, having to
> send those kids down, I wanted to make them feel special and I thought maybe
> they felt the opposite."
> The remaining group stayed below the summit of Lhakpa Ri for five more days,
> and though they never made it to the top they found a summit of their own.
> "Everyone created their own meaning from the trip," Weihenmayer said. "The
> changes in the kids are mostly all Sabriye's influence, but the climb was
> extra
> fuel."
> The six young adults have been able to travel for the film's release, and
> Gyenshen attended the Tokyo premiere alone to head a question-and-answer
> session.
> He now runs the only Braille publishing company in Tibet.
> Dachung now studies at Braille Without Borders vocational school. Sohnam
> Bhumtso attends a regular school and is the head of her class.
> Tashi and Tenzin opened the largest medical massage clinic in Lhasa. Kyila
> went to the U.K. to study English and returned to Tibet to help run Braille
> Without
> Borders.
> And Weihenmayer started a program in Colorado called Global Explorers, in
> which he climbs with blind children in the U.S.
> Copyright 2008 The
> Associated Press.
> All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast,
> rewritten, or redistributed.
> Find this article at:
> http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/04/02/film.climbingblind.ap/index.html
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