Film details

Film Details

Plundering Tibet

A personal take on mining in Tibet
a film by Michael Buckley
producer: Petr Sevcik
Wild Yak Films in association with ThunderHorse Media
HD 16:9 colour, Dolby stereo
Length: 24 mins 20 seconds
post-production in Canada, 2014

Trailer: — easily embedded in any site


Plundering Tibet
A personal take on mining in Tibet
How much can an ecosystem take before it collapses?

Plundering Tibet is a short documentary about the dire consequences of China's ruthless mining in Tibet. As a Canadian filmmaker, the narrator has a personal take on this because of the involvement of Canadian companies in mining in Tibet—and the railway to Lhasa. Following the arrival of the train in Tibet in 2006, large-scale mining of lithium, gold, copper, lead, crude oil, natural gas and other resources is under way to feed China's voracious industrial sector. Tibetans have vigorously protested the defilement of their sacred mountains by Chinese mining operations. None of the mining operations benefit Tibetans. In fact, mining pollutes drinking water, kills the livestock, and degrades the grasslands on which Tibetan nomads depend. A disaster of Biblical proportions is unfolding in Tibet—so big you can see it happening on Google Earth—the mines, the pollution, the environmental damage.

The environmental impact may go far beyond Tibet's borders because of rivers that run downstream to ten Asian nations—including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Vietnam. Tibet's abundant rivers supply large quantities of both water and power for mining operations. Chinese engineers are heavily damming Tibet's mighty rivers to supply power for large-scale mining operations: the building of mega-dams will immediately affect the nations downstream.

The documentary uses undercover footage and still photography shot on location in Tibet—including cellphone footage of an anti-mining protest smuggled out of Tibet. Although some photography of mine sites was shot within Tibet, it is extremely difficult to get to mining sites due to tight security in remote locations. For mining sites in Tibet, the film uses Google Earth flyovers to show what is happening on the ground, hidden from view.

Tibet Disrupted: How China is Endangering Entire Ecosystems in Tibet and Across Asia Meltdown in Tibet

Filmmaker: Michael Buckley has long been involved in research on Tibet, with a number of published books (see In recent years, he has turned his attention to making short documentaries about major environmental problems in Tibet and how they impact Asia — highlighting issues that go unreported or under-reported in Western media. He is author of the book Meltdown in Tibet (Palgrave-Macmillan, NY).

Michael Buckley contact: himmies757 (at)

Producer & Google Earth Pilot: Petr Sevcik grew up in Czechoslovakia, where he studied electronics and automation—and was involved in the underground art movement. Since moving to Canada, he has expanded his involvement with photography, filmmaking, and experimenting with sound. He has produced and directed a number of short films. Petr created the Google Earth flyovers for Plundering Tibet.

Awards: Plundering Tibet

Best Documentary Short — TWIFF, the World's Indie FF, San Francisco, USA, 2015

Best Documentary + Special Jury Prize — Free Spirit Film Festival, Dharamsala, India, 2014

Best Environmental Film — Indie Spirit Film Festival, Colorado Springs, USA, 2014

Best Documentary — Mumbai Shorts Film Festival, India, 2014

Gold Award — documentary & short international movie awards, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2014

Gold Award — documentary short, Oregon International Film Awards, USA, 2014

Silver Award — documentary competition, California film Awards, USA, 2014

Sir Edmund Hilary Award — Mountain Film Festival 2015, California, USA

Denali Award — Alaska International FF, 2015

Best Short Doc — Madrid International FF, 2015

ISFF Best Environmental Film Award 2014 DSIMA Gold Award 2014 Best Documentary: 3rd Mumbai Shorts IFF 2014

Official Selection: Green Bay Film Festival 2015 Official Selection: Free Spirit Film Festival 2014 Official Selection: DSIFF 2014 Official Selection: Kendal Mountain Festival Official Selection: Awareness Festival 2014 Official Selection: Columbia Gorge IFF 2014 Official Selection: Indie Spirit Film Festival 2014 Awareness Film Festival 2014 Official Selection: Kuala Lumpur Co Film Fest 2014 Biting Docs COMMFFEST Toronto Social Justice Film Festival Socially Relevant Film Festival New York 2015 Docutah Hamilton Film Festival The World's Independent Film Festival

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