Benjamin Johns: I had a great idea for film when I heard about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama
This post is also available in: Mongolian
Benjamin Johns, a film producer and director of England, Konstantin Pavlidis, massage therapist, scientist proposed to make a documentary film about Natsagdorj.D, spiritual educator, Khamba Lama at Manba Datsan Monastery, the President of Manba Datsan Mongolian Traditional medicine and Training center. Benjamin Johns and Konstantin Pavlidis visited to Mongolia, met with Natsagdorj.D, Khamba lama, discussed how to create their film and came back last December. Benjamin Johns, a famous producer for documentary film, is intending to create serial documentaries named “World’s enlightener” and within the serial documentaries, he and his crew produce portrayal documentary film about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama. The film crew is going to visit to my country on February 23 and film shooting will last for a month. Benjamin Johns, a film director, producer awarded “The best short film” prize by his creation “Candy Bar Kid” from The British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2003, and awarded “The best cartoon film” prize by “Traffic warden” movie from “HD FEST” festival in 2008.
Konstantin Pavlidis has been working in massage therapy, traditional medicine, and traditional customs, research and art sectors for over 40 years and he is going to work as an assistant director at the documentary film about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama.
Making a film about Mongolian person, culture, customs, traditions, traditional medicine and Buddhism is significant and a pride event and gives a chance to promote Mongolia and traditional medicine to the World.
When visiting period in Mongolia last December, I interviewed with Benjamin Johns, film director and producer.
– Have you ever been to Mongolia, is it first time visiting? Please tell us your first impression about Mongolia?
– I am visiting first time in Mongolia. Although I had never been in Mongolia before, I always interest in your country and dream to visit and create documentaries there. I made the film well known for the name “Traveller” among world English spoken Tzigane which described Tului, the youngest child of Chinggis Khan, lives nomadic life. Kan Bonfils, my close friend acted in role of Tului. However, staying and working time in Mongolia is shorter, I am pleased to research and learn partially Mongolian lifestyle and culture. This gave me much experience to nearer real life. I realized to learn more in the further. Rich culture of Mongolia is very interesting me.
– I heard you came to make documentary film about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama. Why did you make the documentary film about Natsagdorj.D Khamba Lama?
-We are creating serials of “Feature” documentaries named “The world enlightener”. The first one of them was “Uncle Max Dulumunmun of the Yuin Nation” which described senior citizen, Australian native. Each film could become portrayal show of important person who has kept and inherited and promoted the country’s culture and education in high level and could be bridge or connection of past, present and future times. Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama is a famous spiritual educator and enlightener. Hence, I heard about him and had a great film idea.
-How did you know firstly Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama?
– When we talked about making a film of influential people, Konstantin Pavlidis, my partner gave us some information about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama. Konstantin Pavlidis is going to work as an assistant director at the documentary film. He has known Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama for about 10 years and he came across him firstly in London. After that, Konstantin Pavlidis and his wife visited Mongolia. Konstantin Pavlidis’ talking about Khamba Lama is attracting a lot and I was very excited to hear that.
– It is very important to make the film portrayal famous, unique Mongolian person. What do you want to show or describe by this documentary film?
– Many things will be showed by shooting of private life and work or business of Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama through the documentary film. Likewise, some people related to life and business or work of Khamba Lama will participate in the film shooting. Many cultural events and traditions by eyes of Khamba lama will be recorded and kept in the shooting. We are aiming at visiting motherland of Khamba Lama, meet with nomadic people and record their lifestyle.
-I heard that you are very famous film director for documentary film. How many documentary films about overseas people did you create?
I intend the documentaries and drama movies with good ending. I have created numerous documentaries in England, my home country. Moreover, I had created several documentaries in foreign countries. Such as, “The Nihang” about Sikh nomadic tribe in India, “Jose Louis Cortez” about jazz musician who is popular with people of the Republic of Cube. The most successful film is “The Huichols” created in Mexico which described the shamanists, hunters’ tribe that lives in mountain and engages farmer agriculture. The film named “Nuestro Abuelo” was evaluated highly in Mexico and were raced some movie festivals which hold in Havana city of Cube, London and other countries. I have presented my film or movie in some high prestigious cultural organizations such as The British Museum.
– To make the film about Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama, it is certain to shoot or require description of Mongolia with unique, strange history and culture, especially traditional medicine. How do you imagine that? What do you think about traditional medicine and Buddhism? How much do you know them?
-I am planning to include shooting coherent activities of Manba Datsan Monastery, Manba Datsan Hospital, Manba Datsan Pharmaceutical factory and Otoch Manramba University in the documentary. It is very core and essential to see Buddhism sutra, chanting, mantra, herbal medicine-plant oriented medicaments, drug and pharmaceutical substance, service and treatment of hospital for each patient. I think this treatment way or method is unique. Hence, I will help showing all activities or works and how people has received and felt benefit or help of Natsagdorj.D, Khamba Lama who has unique talent or ability, wisdom and traditional medicine through the film to public.
-Thanks for talking with us.