Home to Tibet

A Tibetan refugee returns to his occupied homeland
Year Released
Film Length(s)
55 mins
Remote video URL


HOME TO TIBET documents the return of the Tibetan stone mason, Sonam Lama, to his homeland for the first time since his escape 12 years earlier.

Featured review

Students said that when they saw the film . . . things they had read about through the semester became true for them in a way that they had not anticipated. They saw Tibetans interacting, unrehearsed, around issues of the greatest life-importance . . . a series of completely genuine moments -- something that cannot be conveyed in any other medium.
Kidder Smith
Director, Asian Studies Program, Bowdoin College


HOME TO TIBET documents the return of the Tibetan stone mason, Sonam Lama, to his homeland for the first time since his escape 12 years earlier. It is the moving story of one Tibetan which illustrates the struggles of the Tibetan people to preserve their culture and way of life while living under Chinese occupation. Any film about Tibet and its people must inevitably address the political situation, but politics is not the central concern of this production. Rather, it is about the inseparability of spirituality, family, culture and politics for the Tibetan people. HOME TO TIBET is Sonam's story, but it is also the story of thousands of other Tibetans.


There are several strengths to the video HOME TO TIBET. For anyone like myself who is looking for an authentic account of the "real time" beliefs and practices of a Tibetan Buddhist, this is it. Too often some idealized form of "Tibetan Buddhism" is presented to the viewer that may or may not represent the average believer. In this video I found authentic, believable footage about contemporary Tibetan Buddhists. My discipline is History of Religions and we work quite hard here to give an unbiased and descriptive account of the religions of others. That is why HOME TO TIBET is so refreshing. It doesn't try to 'sell' some normative view, it just tells a wonderful human story and lets us come along and enter into the life experiences of people who are struggling with many difficulties: family, political, cultural and religious.
Dr. James Lewis
Theology and World Religions, Wheaton College
This video tells a wonderful story, one that is both heartbreaking and triumphant. I highly recommend it.
Jan Willis
Chair, Religion Department, Wesleyan University
The real story of what happened since the Chinese occupied Tibet has rarely been told so well as in HOME TO TIBET . . . I recommend it to any one who cares about the Tibetan people, about justice and human rights, and about the human heart.
Daniel Goleman
PhD, author, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, Emotional Intelligence

Awards and Screenings

International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam
Bronze Apple Award, National Educational Media Network
Finalist, Worldfest Charleston
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Mountain Film in Telluride

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