Filmed in a remote Himalayan village, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” marks the first Academy Award nominee for Bhutan.
The Bhutanese film, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom has been nominated for Best International Feature Film at the 94th annual Academy Awards. The film, directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, represents Bhutan’s first ever Oscar nomination, and second ever submission, being the first in 23 years. The film also won the “Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film” and “Best of the Fest” awards at the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom tells the story of Ugyen, a young school teacher, who is sent to the remote town of Lunana to finish his training. Throughout this experience, Ugyen must endure the high altitude and harsh conditions to teach students at the remote school in the Himalayan glaciers.
The film is Pawo Choying Dorji’s directorial debut. In an interview with Variety magazine, Dorji explained the significance of the film for Bhutanese representation, saying, “It has captivated the whole country, from city dwellers to yak herders in the glacial mountains, from school children to Buddhist monks in isolated monasteries. They have all expressed how joyful they are in knowing that a story about our culture and people has been recognized by the world.”
The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on March 27 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, live on ABC.