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04 March Saturday

The Farmer and I

BowTie Criterion, 1331 N. Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23230 United States
The Farmer and I


Cultural barriers and tensions arise between German filmmaker Irja and Bhutanese farmer Sangay when they team up to create a fictional yet educational TV series to encourage the new generation to create value in rural areas instead of emigrating to big cities. The pair’s differences mirror Bhutan’s hardships in implementing sustainable growth after centuries of isolation. Both, individuals and country, must find a way to collaborate if they are to keep their identities but join the world scene

Documentary Feature - Bhutan, 1:21:00

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Artist Bio

Directed by Irja von Bernstorff

Irja studied theatre and media at the university of Bayreuth and at the Sorbonne in Paris. She speaks fluently French, English, German and knows the basics of Italian and Spanish language. During her studies she was editor in chief for the student broadcast Campus TV and directed her first magazine-TV formats for the German private channel Kabel1. In February 2006, she began working as a producer, author and director for the film and TV-production company fechnerMEDIA.

She was associate producer and director‘s assistant during the three-months filming of the French-German coproduction “Amour, Sexe et Mobylette“ (French theatrical release) in Burkina Faso. As executive producer on the team from 2006 to 2010 she was responsible for the development, financing and theatrical distribution of the cinema-featured documentary “The 4th Revolution“ (aired on ARTE and ARD). From 2008 to the end of production, she was the director‘s assistant, on the team that filmed in eleven countries over six months. With audience numbers in excess of 120,000, the film was the most viewed cinema documentary in 2010 in Germany.

Since January 2011 she has been heading up the Berlin office of fechnerMEDIA: productions. In 2011 she produced the German version of the cinema-featured documentary “Nicky’s Family“ (aired on ARD) and directed a TV reportage for ZDF „Nuclear waste in my Backyard“ (30 min.).

In 2012 she completed directing a 5 part series on the German energy transition, commissioned by the public Japanese broadcaster NHK, for a theme evening called “The world of Energy after Fukushima“.

In 2013 Irja von Bernstorff completed a Thema evening for SR/ARTE on “Urban Futures” directing two one-offs entitled “Feeding Cities – A Challenge for the Future“ (52 min.) and “City of the Future – Future of the Cities“ (45 min.) that were screened at international festivals. For „Feeding Cities“ she won the German Conservation and Sustainability Film Prize. Along with this this programme, she designed an online forum “Urban Gardening – How to green your city?” for Arte which has been nominated for the German Industrial Film Award in the New Media category.

In 2014, she directed a 25-episode BBS (Bhutanese Broadcasting Service) series called “THE FARMER – Sonam Zhingpa” a production of the Happy Green Cooperative. 2015 she also directed a portrait on a Bhutanese traditional art student, aired on KIKA/ZDF. 2016 her first feature length documentary “The Farmer and I”, that reflects her personal experience as the first foreigner to direct a Bhutanese TV Series, premiered on the Max-Ophüls-Film Festival and will have a theatrical release this fall in German cinemas.

Filmography as a direcor (selection)

THE WORLD AFTER FUKUSHIMA (shortfilm series, 2012)
URBAN GARDENING (crossmedia project, 10 short documentaries, 2013)
THE FARMER (fictional series, 25 Episodes à 30 minutes, 2013-2014)


March 4
11:45 am - 1:05 pm
Event Categories:
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Venue Name: BowTie Criterion
Address: 1331 N. Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23230 United States

Event Info

Director: Irja von Bernstorff
Cast: Sangay Rinchen, Deki Selden
Running Time: 80