Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2016 Projects

2016 Post-Production Fund

Project Honeygiver Among the Dogs
Category Asian Project
Project Honeygiver Among the Dogs
Director Dechen Roder
Country Bhutan / Hong Kong / China
Director's Profile Dechen RODER was born in 1980 in Bumthang, Bhutan. She learned film on the job and through self-training. Since 2004, she made multiple documentaries that aired on Bhutan National TV. Her work Young People on Wheels was nominated for the UNICEF Child Rights Awards in 2006. In 2011, she produced her first short fiction. Original Photocopy of Happiness (2011) was nominated for Best Short Film in the 2011 Brussels International Independent Film Festival and won Jury Mention at the 17th IFVA Hong Kong Awards in 2012. Her most recent short film Lo Sum Choe Sum was screened in Berlinale, Fribourg, Melbourne, Palm Springs, and many other festivals worldwide.
An elderly abbess disappears from her nunnery in remote Bhutan. The police suspect foul play, possibly murder. Kinley, a disbelieving yet kind police detective is sent from the capital to investigate and apprehend their prime suspect, Choden, a young mysterious woman labeled by the village as a ‘demoness’ due to her solitary and seductive ways. When Choden absconds before Kinley arrives, he is instructed to find and befriend her undercover, as she may lead him to more evidence or perhaps even the abbess herself. While Choden and Kinley travel together on foot, through forests, and past temples and villages, Choden saturates Kinley with seemingly random stories of historical dakinis (or enlightened Buddhist women of supernatural powers and wisdom, also known as “sky-dancers”). Kinley soon finds himself torn between intense attraction for Choden and intense suspicion. Once in Thimphu, Choden draws him further into a convoluted web of crime, greed, magic and dakinis. When Kinley learns that there are others following him, he no longer knows whom or what to trust. He slowly realizes that Choden’s stories of historical dakinis might provide the very “clues” needed in understanding the investigation. But first, he might have to surrender to both Choden’s charms and a belief in the historical and supernatural
Director's Note
Growing up in Bhutan as a young girl in the 1980s, I hardly knew any prominent women in our culture. Few appeared in mainstream media or in history books. Most of us turned to outside cultures searching for female heroes. We were at a loss of who we were and who we could become. But when I was 21 years old, I met Rinchen. 70-year-old Rinchen had left her home as a teenager seeking some form of truth. Word had spread in the villages that she was a ‘dakini’, an enlightened Buddhist woman of power and wisdom. Until that brief encounter, I had only heard of dakinis as mythological characters, seen them painted on temple walls, but never knew dakinis had any historical or real-life significance. I started searching for dakini stories in academic texts, and through conversations with older Bhutanese. Initially a personal quest, soon the stories started to jump out visually and inspire a film. I located countless stories of historical women who searched for their own truth and teachers, women who ran away from society, guided by compassion and courage. These women were not how we imagine Buddhist nuns today: they were adventurous, unconventional, and rarely celibate. These stories of female glory, wisdom and courage remain hidden and obscure, and need a modern lens.
Still Cut