This year’s Tricycle | Buddhafest Online Film Festival features two films by wonderwoman director Victress Hitchcock: Blessings: The Tsoknyi Nangchen Nuns of Tibet and When the Iron Bird Flies. The first opened the film festival by highlighting the practice of the Nangchen nuns within the largely male-dominated history of Buddhism in Tibet. With When the Iron Bird Flies, Hitchcock expands her lens, following the journey of Tibetan Buddhism from its past seclusion in the Land of Snows to its current (almost) mainstream status in the West, focusing especially on the effects of the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet in 1959. When the Iron Bird Flies explores an engaging question as Tibetan Buddhism’s influence grows worldwide: In these incredibly chaotic, modern times, can these age old teachings help us find genuine happiness—and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world?

Below, watch a trailer of the movie and listen to a Tricycle Talk with director Victress Hitchcock. As British historian Arnold Toynbee once wrote, “The coming of Buddhism to the West may well prove to be the most important event of the twentieth century.” If this is true, Hitchcock has her finger on the pulse of a changing society.

Pick up a film festival pass and watch When the Iron Bird Flies.

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