Pala Amala

Father Mother | Vater Mutter
Pala Amala (meaning “Father Mother” in the Tibetan language) is a two-channel video featuring the artist’s parents, who fled Tibet as children in the early 1960s. Phuntsog’s slow camera moves and deliberate framing capture his parents performing as themselves, as well as serving as vessels for a diaspora family. The reduced images communicate feelings around familial expressions of care, language, and identity. Memories of and longing for a lost homeland are expressed without words, as if hanging in the air, reflected through the gaze of subjects and the camera, unresolved. On a California beach, the father relives the moment he returned to Tibet for his first and only time in the 1990s, rubbing sand – in place of soil – over his hands and body.
Pala Amala was filmed on the Pacific coast, where Phuntsog’s family settled in 1995, and their home in suburban America.
by Tenzin Phuntsog
with Nawang Phuntsog, Tsekyi Dolma Phuntsog
USA 2022 Without dialogue 6’ Colour International premiere


  • Nawang Phuntsog (Pala)
  • Tsekyi Dolma Phuntsog (Amala)


Director Tenzin Phuntsog
Cinematography Tenzin Phuntsog
Editing Tenzin Phuntsog
Sound Design Tenzin Phuntsog
Sound Tenzin Phuntsog
Assistant Director Jonathan Witz
Production Manager Jonathan Witz
Producers Tenzin Phuntsog, Andrea Monti

Produced by

Plateaux Films

Microscope Gallery

Tenzin Phuntsog

Tenzin Phuntsog is a Tibetan-American artist and filmmaker who works across moving image, film, and installation. His personal practice touches into themes of presence and belonging as well as landscape and language. He studied Media Arts at the University of California and holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. His works have been exhibited and screened at renowned galleries, museums, and festivals including Videobrasil, São Paulo; IFFR Rotterdam; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Microscope Gallery, New York; and The Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam.


2010 Four Rivers; 67 min. 2014 A Singing Blade; 15 min. 2018 Rituals of Resistance; 63 min. 2019 The Day the Sun Died; 17 min. 2022 Dreams · Pala Amala (Father Mother) · Achala · Dancing Boy · Summer Grass 2023 Mother Tongue · Next Life

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023