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International Buddhist Film Festival Returns To London

11 – 15 April at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus

Presented by The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation

In conjunction with the Buddhist Art Forum at the Courtauld Institute of Art

The International Buddhist Film Festival (IBFF) returns to London this Spring, bringing a compelling selection of Buddhist cinema to the capital from 11-15 April 2012 at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus.  The diverse programme will showcase more than a dozen feature films and documentaries, most of which are European and UK premieres including a Richard Gere-narrated exploration of the life of Buddha.

Now celebrating its 10th year, the IBFF has presented festivals in cities across the world from LA, Washington DC and Mexico City to Amsterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong.  This will be the first time the IBFF has visited the UK since 2009.

“We are delighted to be returning to London with a wonderful new selection of world cinema with a Buddhist touch,” said Gaetano Kazuo Maida, Executive Director of IBFF.   “Drawing on themes from karma, self and happiness to redemption, compassion, community and creativity – often treated with humour – there is something here for everyone, regardless of how much they already know about Buddhism.  We’ll also be bringing together renowned guest speakers, filmmakers and audiences to talk about the diversity of Buddhist cultures and experiences across the globe,” he added.

Presented by the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation, the IBFF is being held in conjunction with the Buddhist Art Forum at the Courtauld Institute of Art at Somerset House, offering Londoners a feast of Buddhist cultural delights across cinema and art.

There are three Japan related documentaries included in the programme. They are:


Directed by Naoki Kato

113 min / Japan / Japanese with English subtitles / 2010

Dramatic Feature

A punk rock veteran, now a married Buddhist priest, has a crisis of identity. This film touches on karma, self, compassion, community, impermanence, fathers and sons, relative and absolute, noise and music… and weaves bravely between heartfelt emotion and jaunty farce. A soft spot for thrash punk (and Leonard Cohen) will add to the pleasure. 

Screening Friday 13th April at 8.45pm



Directed by Tim Grabham

86 min / UK, Japan / 2011


A mysterious and compelling meditation on sound, song, story, ritual, performance, nature, tradition and Japanese Buddhism… A fearless merging of medieval and modern, beautifully filmed with a variety of cinematic techniques on location in Japan. Kanzeon is another way of saying Kannon (Chinese: Kuan Yin), and can also be written in Japanese as “to see sounds.” 

Screening Sunday 15th April at 6.30pm


Shugendo Now

Directed by Jean-Marc Abela and Mark Patrick McGuire

91 min / Japan, Canada / Japanese with English subtitles / 2010


European Premiere

The school of Japanese asceticism called Shugendo is a blend of Shinto, Daoism and Buddhism. Followers practice arduous rituals in wildernesses and are deeply committed to protecting the natural environment. The film is a poetic and intimate journey into a rarely seen world between the developed and the wild, between the present and the infinite. 

Screening Wednesday 11th April at 6.30pm

Shugendo Now

For the complete listing visit

The IBFF is part of Buddhist Film Foundation, Inc. (BFF), an independent nonprofit educational organisation based in Berkeley, California.  The mission of BFF is presentation, preservation, production and promotion of a diverse cinema that embraces themes and issues connected with wisdom and compassion. In addition to the IBFF, BFF has a distribution service, Festival Media, and is developing the first Buddhist Film Archive at U.C. Berkeley with the Center for Buddhist Studies. www.buddhistfilmfoundation.org

IBFF 2012 venue: Apollo Piccadilly Circus, 19 Regent Street, London, SW1Y 4LR

Tickets will be available nearer the time via www.apollocinemas.com; 0871 220 6000


For complete film listing, click here.

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