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Littleton filmmaker celebrates Tibetan culture

Three generations from one family are featured in Marilyn Pennell’s film “The Way Home: Tibetans in Exile.”
Three generations from one family are featured in Marilyn Pennell’s film “The Way Home: Tibetans in Exile.”

SCENES FROM TIBET The first time Littleton filmmaker Marilyn Pennell traveled to China, she was entranced by Tibetan culture. “I felt a sense of kinship right away,” she said, recalling the 2006 trip she made to the Tibetan plateau as a Fulbright Hays Fellow. “Tibetans are beautiful, gentle, spiritual people, and their religious practice of Buddhism called to me.”

After returning to the Boston area, Pennell continued thinking about the people she had met on her travels, and eventually found her way to a Tibetan Buddhist study center in Medford. Soon her interests in Tibetan Buddhism and filmmaking fused, and she embarked upon a series of short films about Tibetans living in Boston.


Pennell’s flagship documentary, “The Way Home: Tibetans in Exile,” was screened in December at a Women in Film & Video New England event, which is where Ellen Gitelman, executive director of Belmont World Film, first saw it. The film tells the story of three generations of Tibetan women living in the United States and working to preserve their traditional music and dance. Gitelman was so impressed that she offered to host an evening of Tibetan culture that will feature highlights from the film as well as music, dance, and food.

Pennell says she is grateful for the chance to share a cause about which she is passionate, but she also hopes her audience will find that Tibetan culture and religious practice resonate with them just as it does with her.

“What I most want people who see my film to understand is that the Tibetan women in my film are survivors, not victims. They are compassionate, smart, and strong, and their faith and courage helped them through their exile from India,” Pennell said. “And now it is inspiring them to do all they can to save their culture.”


The free “Fashion Meets Film” event takes place Thursday, June 25, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sara Campbell store, 200 Linden St. in Wellesley, and will include a raffle and shopping, with proceeds to benefit Belmont World Film. Pennell will also discuss her experience producing the film as well as the last steps needed to complete it. For more information, visit www.belmontworldfilm.org , or call 617-484-3980.

ARTISTIC TRANSLATIONS Fountain Street Fine Art presents “Traditions in Translation,” an exhibition by Jaeok Lee and Joel Moskowitz in which both artists draw from their cultural and spiritual legacies, adapting the symbols, rituals, and social dynamics of distant homelands. Lee’s stone-like ceramic guardians are inspired by traditional Korean folk figures. Moskowitz blends the Hebrew letters of his Jewish heritage with the Arabic letters of Islam. The display is open through July 11, with a gallery talk and poetry reading Saturday, June 27, at 4 p.m. at the gallery and studio, 59 Fountain St. in Framingham. For more details, call 508-879-4200 or go to www.fountainstreetfineart.com.

NATURE IN THE BACKYARD “A Local Focus,” an exhibition for which Cheryl Rose of Hopkinton snapped photos of birds, insects, frogs, and turtles in her backyard and at two nearby sanctuaries, will be on display through June 30 at Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, 280 Eliot St. in Natick. Nature center hours are Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 508-655-2296 or go to www.massaudubon.org/broadmoor.


THE JURIES ARE IN Danforth Art, at 123 Union St. in Framingham, is presenting two annual juried exhibitions, “Off the Wall” and “Community of Artists,” through Aug. 2. They feature more than 200 works by New England artists working in all media. For hours, admission, and more information, call 508-620-0050 or go to www.danforthart.org.

MAKE NOTE OF IT The annual Aston Magna Music Festival is continuing its local series of classical music concerts at Brandeis University, 415 South St. in Waltham, at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25. Programs in the series, with concerts also on July 2 and 16, feature works by Schubert, Mozart, Vivaldi, and Bach, among others. Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door. Each paying adult may bring up to two children age 6 to 16 for free. For tickets and more information, go to www.astonmagna.org.

BLUES MOVES Guitarist Gary Hoey performs tracks from his latest album, “Deja Blues,” at the Center for Arts in Natick, 14 Summer St., on Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m. General admission tickets are $35, or $30 for TCAN members. For tickets or more information, call 508-647-0097 or go to www.natickarts.org.

IT’S ABOUT MAIL Henry Lukas, from the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History in Weston, will give a free talk tracing the evolution of the US postal system and mail delivery from the Boston Post Road, the Santa Fe Trail, and the Pony Express to trains, planes, ships, catapults, rockets, and even camels at noon Thursday, June 25, at the Natick Community-Senior Center, 117 East Central St. Bring a lunch or buy one at the nearby Lincoln Café. For more details, call 508-647-6540.


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