Lama Ole Nydahl – Official Homepage

“Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey” wins Audience Award for Best Documentary

Published November 23, 2014

We are happy to share the wonderful news that on 16 Nov 2014 the film “Hannah: Buddhism’s Untold Journey” won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the ARPA International Film Festival in Los Angeles!

The film tells the story of Hannah Nydahl, the late wife of Lama Ole Nydahl and a Buddhist teacher in her own right. It brings to life the journey of Tibetan Buddhism to the West through the life of one who was so instrumental in this transmission. “Hannah” had been five years in the making, involving a huge amount of effort from the directors and producers Marta Kessler and Adam Penny, two of Hannah and Lama Ole’s close students, supported by many other friends and colleagues.

From their idealistic roots as hippies in Copenhagen of the sixties, the film follows Hannah and her husband Ole to the magical city of Kathmandu where in 1969 they became the first Western students of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa – the first consciously reincarnated lama of Tibet, and the man who would change their lives forever. Having spent three years in the eastern Himalayas with the 16th Karmapa and other high Karma Kagyu lamas, learning and meditating, Hannah and Ole were asked to return to Europe to share their experience with others and start Karma Kagyu Buddhist groups and centres in the Western world. Hannah became interpreter and confidante to the highest Karma Kagyu teachers, and introduced a generation of Tibetan lamas to the West. It was this unassuming but enormously influential work that led a Danish newspaper to refer to her as the “Mother of Buddhism.”

“Hannah” was screened at the legendary Egyptian Theater – the location of the first ever Hollywood film premiere, in 1922 – as part of the 17th ARPA International Film Festival. The ARPA festival aims to “provide the public with unique stories of the human spirit.” This film certainly fits the description, and Hannah’s unique and powerful example touched many non-Buddhists in the audience. This screening and award are an important step for the film to be selected for bigger festivals elsewhere, and eventually to be shown in theaters around the world.

Lama Ole, the production team and everyone involved are deeply grateful to all who supported the film during the five years of its making.