Born in 1980, in Bumthang, Bhutan, Dechen Roder is one of the few female filmmakers from the kingdom of Bhutan. She started out making small documentaries and videos, and founded her own production company, Dakinny Productions, in 2009. In 2015, she wrote and directed 3 Year 3 Month Retreat (2015), which competed for Best Short Film at Berlin International Film Festival 2015, and other festivals around world. That same year she began production of her debut feature film, Honeygiver Among the Dogs (2016); recipient of the Busan International Film Festival Asian Cinema Fund 2016 Post-Production Fund and the Hanoi International Film Festival 2014 Project Market Award, which premiered at Busan International Film Festival 2016, had its European premiere at Berlin International Film Festival 2017, and won three awards at the Fribourg International Film Festival 2017. The film was also nominated for an Asia Pacific Screen Award 2017 in the Cultural Diversity category. Dechen Roder is also co-founder and co-organizer of Bhutan’s first film festival, Beskop Tshechu.
Thinley CHODEN, Dechen RODER
Thinley Choden is a producer, social entrepreneur and strategy consultant. Her first film project was the Emmy Award winning documentary, Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness (Thomas Vendetti, 2007), on which she worked as an advisor and promoter. She recently co-produced an arts exhibition in Hawaii, USA, and collaborated on Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Dechen Roder, 2016); assisting in fundraising, publicity and also becoming a presenter of the film. I, the Song will be her first feature as producer.
Dakinny Productions was founded in 2009 by Dechen Roder (Director and Co-producer of I, the Song). The company has produced many documentaries (aired on Bhutan television), short films, and feature film Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Dechen Roder, 2016), which screened at Busan, Berlin and many other festivals. Dakinny Productions strives to produce films for both international and domestic audiences, by presenting culturally original stories combined with technical expertise from foreign professionals (mainly for sound).
Nima, a schoolteacher in the capital, is accused of being in a pornographic video and is fired from her job. In a desperate attempt to prove her innocence, she travels to a town in the south of Bhutan in search of her lookalike seen in the video. Once in the dilapidated town, she is told that her doppelganger, Meto, skipped town and immigrated to the USA. Unconvinced, Nima starts to dig around through meetings and close encounters with Meto’s most intimate friends; including her former boyfriend, Tandin, a musician; her best friend, Chuni, who worked with her in a printing factory; and Phuntsho, her former employer. A visit to Meto’s home village and family (her grandmother and brother) only confuses Nima further, since the brother is convinced Meto is still in Bhutan, while her grandmother is waiting for Meto’s return from the city, after attempting to recover a sacred song which was stolen by ‘city people.’ As Nima begins to unravel the fragments of Meto’s life and relationships, she finds herself dangerously entangled in a web of uncertainty and insecurity. But, as her anger towards Meto transforms into concern, she realizes that she may be the only person who can find both the answer to Meto’s disappearance and ‘recover’ the stolen song. Moving between Nima’s search and Meto’s life, I, the Song is a film about exploitation, music, identity, love, and a culture balanced precariously on the threshold of a reckless digital age.