A Little Wisdom

An intimate insight into young monastic life in the heart of the Buddha’s birthplace

A Little Wisdom 5-year old Hopakuli is lazy, cheeky and forever disobeying his elders. He is one of the young, orphaned monks living in the isolated Tibetan monastery of Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of the Buddha. As Hopakuli and his brother Chorten learn to endure the rigours of monastic life with their fellow orphans, they find escape in the power of their imaginations, the rough and tumble of their boyhood a constant challenge to the regimented religious environment they call home. Beautifully crafted, this stylish documentary is an intimate immersion in to the universal truths of youth.

Reviews and More

This absorbing cinematic film... welcomes us into a world that we never thought a mischievous child could reveal.” – Best Canadian Feature Hotdocs 2018

Kang has made a film that’s rich in its appreciation of the vagaries of life” – POV Magazine

"the enchanting mix of arresting visuals... discover meaning within the ordinary" – Hammer to Nail

For a Q&A with director Yuqi Kang, see here.

LaurelBUSAN International Film Festival - Official Selection
LaurelSXSW Film Design Awards - Excellence in Poster Design
LaurelHot Docs - Best Canadian Feature
LaurelCAAMFEST San Francisco - Official Selection
LaurelAsia Pacific Screen Awards - Official Selection
LaurelKarlovy Vary International Film Festival - Official Selection

The Producers

Yuqi Kang - Director

Yuqi Kang was born in Inner Mongolia, China. Growing up as an ethnic minority in China, art became the medium through which Yuqi began to confront and begin to articulate her lived experience. Upon graduating from the School of Arts in NY, she was awarded the Paula Rhodes Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement in Social Documentary Film. For Yuqi, filmmaking is a dialogical process that involves both observation and improvisation. Filmmaking is an extension of Yuqi’s artistic practice and through her work she explores the questions of representation, human experience and cultural translation. A Little Wisdom is Yuqi Kang's feature directorial debut.

Maro Chermayeff - Producer

Maro Chermayeff is a partner in the Emmy and Peabody award-winning company Show of Force and Founder and Chairman of the MFA program in social documentary at the School of Visual Arts. Her numerous documentary films and series (Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present, Kehinde Wiley, and “Soundbreaking”) have received Emmy awards, The Peabody Award , have toured the world in festivals, including Sundance, Telluride, SXSW, Full Frame, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Toronto and many more. Her feature documentaries have played theatrically, and been broadcast widely- on PBS, HBO, A&E, TLC, BRAVO, Discovery, Arte, France 2 and BBC, and Channel 4 - garnering scores of honors and awards, as well as significant critical acclaim.

Alan Berliner - Story Consultant

Alan Berliner's uncanny ability to combine experimental cinema, artistic purpose, and popular appeal in compelling film essays has made him one of America's most acclaimed independent filmmaker. The New York Times has described Berliner's work as "powerful, compelling and bittersweet... full of juicy conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique, unpredictable in their structures... Alan Berliner Illustrates the power of fine art to transform life." Berliner's experimental documentary films, First Cousin Once Removed (2013), Wide Awake (2006), The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody's Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast all over the world, and received awards, prizes, and retrospectives at many major international film festivals.

Making The Film

For as long as I can remember, I have been using drawing as a medium to explore the world surrounding me. I believe my background in drawing gave rise to my filmmaking practice as the combination of visual and sound parallels the use of a paintbrush on canvas. Both mediums involve not only a great deal of observation but also improvisation. As a practicing Buddhist, I attempt to embody the Buddha's teachings, and I apply it to my own process whether in filmmaking or drawing. The artistic intention of A Little Wisdom is recreating the emotional connection I had with the subject for the audience. Therefore, we try to avoid forced sentimentality by not using music or set up interviews to push the narrative forward. Instead, I utilize visuals, sounds, and hidden symbols to convey the mood, the sense of reality and the emotional connections.

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