Dreams of Birds Flying in the Sky

Dreams of Birds Flying in the Sky presents multiple narratives of persons living with disabilities in the Himalayan country of Bhutan. The experiences of those featured in the film tell the story of the complexities of disabled realities in education, training, entrepreneurship, work, culture, and religion. While many of the stories present a shared experience of being disabled in Bhutan, the differences of urban and rural lives, gender, and abilities are explored. Bhutan may be known as the land of ‘Gross National Happiness,’ but opportunities to realize happiness are tempered by the many challenges that persons with disabilities face. In Bhutan, sometimes the challenge is literally just getting to the top of the first mountain before descending to attempt the next. Despite this, the participants in this film all dream of happiness and of a life of meaning to themselves and their community.

  • Arun Bhattarai
    The Next Guardian
  • Arun Bhattarai
  • Matthew Schuelka
  • Dorji Dhendup
    Post Production
  • Kimi Hnamte
    Production Manager
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    57 minutes 50 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    August 30, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Tibetan
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Cinematic Spaces of Education Film Festival
    Minneapolis, MN
    United States
    April 21, 2022
    North America Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Oxford Seminar Series
    United Kingdom
    April 27, 2022
    UK Premiere
  • Kanchenjunga International Film Festival
    Award Winner
  • Druk International Film Festival
    October 1, 2021
    Critic's Choice Award; Best Feature on Disability Issues
  • Summit on Education, Employment, and Social Participation for Persons with Disabilities in Bhutan
    December 16, 2021
    Bhutan Premiere
  • IndieFEST
    United States
    May 6, 2022
    Award of Merit
  • Impact DOCS

    United States
    July 29, 2022
    Award of Merit
Director Biography - Arun Bhattarai

Arun Bhattarai established his own production company – Sound Pictures – and is one of the few independent documentary filmmakers in Bhutan. His first feature-length documentary, The Next Guardian, premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 2017 and has been screened at more than 40 international festivals and broadcast around the world. His most recent television documentary, Kelden, won The Asia Pitch and was screened in NHK World TV and KBS Korea. Currently he is working on a short documentary, Mountain Man, about Bhutan’s first glaciologist. The project has received funding from the International Documentary Association (IDA). He is also developing his second feature documentary, Gross National Happiness. The project has won several grants including the Producers Workshop and Marché du Film at the Cannes Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Institute Award, and the Sundance Film Institute.

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