German filmmaker Irja and Bhutanese farmer Sangay see how quickly Bhutan, after centuries of isolation, starts falling through the traps of unsustainable growth: replacing their home grown food by lower quality imports from India, youth emigrating to cities facing unemployment, loss of their customs and culture in favor of Western models. Passionate and equally idealistic that this trend can be reverted, they team up to make a 25-episode fiction TV series for the only Bhutanese TV-channel, promoting an autonomous modern and sustainable agriculture. Offering an alternative to city life the story of the TV series appeals to a young Bhutanese audience in identity crisis, disconnected from their parent’s generation of traditional farmers.
Irja and Sangay risk to fail when the very same forces that threaten Bhutan to collapse strain their relationship. Despite their shared vision, locals and foreigners can’t seem to agree on the very basics of collaborating in the project: no common working procedure, little money and time for Western standards, and challenging remote places without the comforts of modern life.
For Bhutan a similar challenge lies ahead. Even though Bhutan has developed the admirable vision of Gross National Happiness, the implementation of sustainable growth clashes with the foreign influence of modernization. The fight for an equally important independent, ecological food production is essential and a decisive step for its future. A step that could be significant for the rest of the world. Both, filmmakers and country, mirroring each other’s paths, may overcome the challenges and thrive towards bigger goals if they re-define who they are while embracing change.

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Director Biography

Irja von Bernstorff studied theatre and media at the university of Bayreuth and at the Sorbonne in Paris. During her studies she was editor in chief for the student broadcast Campus TV and directed her first magazine-TV-formats for the German private channel Kabel1.
Since 2006 Irja von Bernstorff has been working as editor, director and executive producer for fechnerMEDIA. Until 2010, she worked as AD on THE 4TH REVOLUTION – ENERGY AUTONOMY. In 2011 she realised her TV debut with the ZDF report NUCLEAR WASTE IN MY BACKYARD. Her 1st full-length TV programme was a SR/ARTE theme evening about the future of cities in 2013. Since October 2013, she lives in Thimphu, Bhutan, where she directed a 25-part TV series for the Bhutanese state TV next to THE FARMER.

Filmography as a direcor (selection)

THE WORLD AFTER FUKUSHIMA (shortfilm series, 2012)
URBAN GARDENING (crossmedia project, 10 short documentaries, 2013)
THE FARMER (fictional series, 25 Episodes à 30 minutes, 2013-2014)
THE FARMER – A story made in Bhutan (2015)

4 Responses to “THE FARMER AND I”

  1. Anna says:

    I really liked the movie, I recommend everyone to watch. Thank you.

  2. David says:

    Good film. good work)

  3. Sonya says:

    I’ve seen a lot of movies of this genre, but this surprised me. An amazing film.

  4. Ktrina says:

    Much work has been done isn’t in vain. The film deserves respect.

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