Upcoming Screenings

U.S. Premiere
Margaret Mead Film Festival
New York, October 21st 2018

Winner “Emerging Director, Documentary Feature” Award
Asian CineVision 42 AAIFF

+ Screenings +


Margaret Mead Film Festival, Premiere, New York City Oct 21, 2018


Presidents Fine Art Series, MSU & Bozeman Film Society, Montana April 17

42nd AAIFF, New York City July 28,2019 12:30 at Asia Society http://asiancinevision.org

10th Tibet Film Festival, Zurich, Switzerland Sept 12-15 http://tibetfilmfestival.org

Buddhist Film Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands Sept 27-29

Taiwanese Ethnographic Film Festival, Taipei, Taiwan Oct 4-8 https://www.tieff.org

10th Tibet Film Festival, Dharamsala, India Oct 12-13 http://tibetfilmfestival.org

Byron Bay International Film Festival, Byron Bay, Australia Oct 18-27 http://www.bbff.com.au

San Diego Asian American Film Festival
PacArts, Sunday Nov.10, 2019

The Rubin Museum of Art, New York City Dec 18, 2019 http://rubinmuseum.org

Noble Screening, Greenpoint BK, Dec 20
At Incausa.co


Jacob Burns Film Center, Upstate New York
February 13th, 2020 at 12:30pm and 5pm

IndieMeme Film Festival, Texas April 2-5th

Buddhist Arts and Film Festival June 25-28th
Boulder, CO

Tricycle Magazine Film Club
August Film 2020

Rituals of Resistance
Feature Length Documentary Film
63 Minutes, Color, Stereo 2018

A Film by Tenzin Phuntsog and Joy Dietrich
Contact info tenzin.phuntsog@montana.edu and jedfilms98@gmail.com


A Tibetan-American filmmaker explores modes of resistance to Chinese occupation by speaking with activists in exile across three generations in disparate parts of the world. Ultimately a portrait of transgenerational trauma is revealed through personal testimonies of resilience in the face of oppression.

“Rituals of Resistance” looks at the evolving generational responses by pacifist Tibetans under 65 years of Chinese occupation. Through first-hand oral accounts by three Tibetan exiles living in disparate parts of the world, the film traces the three paths of resistance from the active and the brutal, to the realm of the symbolic and sacrificial. The film creatively explores the history of resistance through each subject's relation to the medium of their era.

After the Chinese invasion in 1950, a devout monk turns to violence and becomes a guerrilla leader, launching pinprick raids from his base in Nepal. An immigrant mother in California, who follows the Dalai Lama’s Middle Path of nonviolence, defies Chinese border restrictions to reunite with her family after 30 years of separation. A student-activist in India, who grew up under Chinese-controlled Tibet, turns to suicide protest.

Each individual grapples with his or her Buddhist beliefs at the face of national and political imperatives.

Interspersed between each portrait, the Tibetan American director reflects on each mode of resistance as he wanders the American frontier that resembles his lost homeland.

Director's note

“Rituals of Resistance” is a handmade film, shot, produced, and edited by the directing duo, Joy Dietrich and Tenzin Phuntsog. The project started out as a film restoration of a forgotten 1966 film, "Raid into Tibet," which led us to embark on a much more ambitious and personal film about the three paths of resistance Tibetans have taken over the past three generations since the Chinese occupation. 

When we began we had no idea how difficult telling the story of three generations of Tibetans in exile would be. Over the course of five years we are proud to share this powerful and honest account of resilience in the exile experience.

This is a deeply humanistic film, but it is also uncompromisingly truthful, which often makes it profoundly distressing. First and foremost, we as filmmakers were determined to provide an opportunity for our subjects to tell their own stories, so often the Tibetan story has been told by a Western or Colonial perspective, we wanted to change that.

The recent rise of self-immolations within the Tibetan community (now numbering 150 deaths) is challenging to discuss and show on film, but we felt compelled to bring awareness to this growing social phenomenon. “Rituals of Resistance” is ultimately an attempt to understand it from a personal perspective of Tenzin Phuntsog, a Tibetan exile based in the United States and founder of the Tibet Film Archive.

This is a timely film as stories from Tibet and ordinary Tibetans are being suppressed. Almost everyone knows about the non-violent movement of the Tibetan people, however the struggle is more nuanced than mainstream media portrays. Our film sheds light through stories of depth and resilience, regardless of how difficult the stories may be, I believe that sharing our collective stories of courage is a powerful gesture.


Directed and Produced by Tenzin Phuntsog & Joy Dietrich
Executive Producer Eric Nyari
Original Score by Alex Zhang Hungtai
Post Sound Origin of Audio
Post Color Cineric Inc.
Copyright 2018 Ritual Works LLC