Pema Tseden, whose last three films have all appeared at the Venice Film Festival, has wrapped filming on her latest effort “Snow Leopard.” The film is a drama about how humans and animals eventually get along, despite their occasional conflicts.
With Tibet a source of controversy between China and the international community, ethnic Tibetan Pema Tseden (aka Wanma Caidan) chooses to work within China’s official film system of script approval, censorship and licensing Release. A former civil servant and teacher, he is sometimes described as a pioneer of the new Tibetan wave and has credits that include “Silent Holy Stones”, “Jinpa” and “Balloon”.
“Snow Leopard” obtained a filming permit in March this year and was filmed in the Three Rivers Source National Nature Reserve in Maduo County, a part of Tibet, which China calls the Xizang Autonomous Region. . The average elevation in the reserve is around 5,000 meters (about 16,000 feet), making it a refuge for wildlife, away from massive human intrusions and development.
In 2021, Variety reported that the Chinese Film Bureau had approved Pema Tseden’s screenplay for a film called “Stranger,” in which a man on a Harley Davidson travels through Tibet in search of a woman named Tara. “Snow Leopard” seems to have advanced first.
His story is understood as the worry of a conflict between a father and a son after a snow leopard kills nine of a shepherd’s goats. The son wants to kill the leopard, but the father insists on leaving the animal unharmed.
The human cast includes Jinpa, Xiong Ziqi, and Tseten Tashi. The photography is by Belgian cinematographer Matthias Delvaux (“The cloud in his room”, “Journey to the West”).
Produced by Zhang Jian, Zhou Hao and Wang Lei, “Snow Leopard” is presented by Great Luck Films, Lead Culture Media, Dzona Pictures and Mani Stone Pictures. No commercial agent has yet been attached.
“We are working on post-production. We plan to finish everything by October and then start submitting the film to festivals,” his team told Variety via email.
A concept poster was designed by Du Fengsong’s DUDO Design studio, which previously designed the poster for “Balloon.”