Tibet celebrates 50 years of dubbing mastery

Updated: 2015-12-25 11:18

By Da Qiong and Palden Nyima in Lhasa, Tibet(China Daily USA)

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Hundreds of people gathered in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region, to mark the 50th anniversary of the region's film dubbing achievements.

The Tibet Film Co has dubbed more than 2,000 films and 50 teleplays over the past five decades into a variety of Tibetan dialects.

"Dubbed films have played an important role in spreading science civilization, promoting healthy awareness and linking Tibetans to the outside world in the region," Zhang Jianhua, the company's manager, said at the event's opening ceremony on Friday.

Most of the films were shown in open air in remote areas, though some were screened in township meeting rooms and halls. "Films related to war and lives in the countryside were most welcomed by Tibetan residents in the remote areas," Zhang, 50, said. "Most villagers, especially young people enjoyed the shows."

Officials of the Film Bureau of the State Press and Publication Administration, the China Film Group Corp and the region's Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Bureau were invited for the two-day event, along with insiders from the ethnic translation centers of China's provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan.

The region has 478 grassroots film projection teams scattered in 5,400 villages and six multi-screen cinemas with annual ticket sales of nearly 50 million yuan ($7.7 million), Zhang said.

Most of the dubbed films were provided by the film bureau, although there were also some Hollywood movies, such as the The Mask, a 1994 film featuring comic actor Jim Carrey, which was hugely popular among Tibetans. In the past few years, the company has dubbed an average of 80 films annually.

Villagers had few film choices in the past, as many places had no electricity or road access, but conditions have improved over the last two decades, and the region will equip all counties with digital cinemas by 2016, said Tenzin, the company's deputy manager.

"There are more ways for Tibetan villagers to watch films nowadays with most families equipped with TV, and with screening teams in every county," Tenzin said.

Despite the popularization of modern technology and the promotion of Mandarin, the demand for films in Tibetan dialects has not decreased. The content has become richer and there are more foreign films, Zhang said. The company has 40 employees, including several translators.

Dubbed films are especially welcomed by villagers in Tibet's prefectures of Ali, Shannan and Xigaze, said Lhakpa, a senior dubbing expert.

"Tibetans in those areas have different dialects. They see watching dubbed films as a way to learn the Lhasa dialect, which is the most popular dialect in Tibet," Lhakpa said.

The 48-year-old said Tibetan villagers also learn about the rest of the world from the dubbed films, and it has helped them to communicate more easily with outsiders.

Contact the writers through palden@chinadaily.com.cn