The Next Guardian

Arun Bhattarai, Dorottya Zurbó
Bhutan, Hungary
74 minutes


The contrasting dreams of two generations clash within the microcosm of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Bhutan, when Gyembo an ordinary teenager is chosen as the next guardian of their family monastery by his father.

More about Film

In a remote village in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, Gyembo (16) and his sister Tashi (15) aimlessly roam while their father meticulously polishes the ancient relics inside the altar of their private monastery. This family has been taking care of the temple from one generation to the next for thousands of years. Unlike their father whose life revolves around the monastery, Gyembo and Tashi have grown up with desires that go beyond the confines of this sacred place. While Gyembo wants to become a footballer he is the only confidante for Tashi who identifies herself as a boy. Following tradition, the father wants Gyembo to carry on the family heritage. He genuinely believes that the only way for Gyembo to accumulate good Karma is to leave school and dedicate his life towards religion. This film explores the irony of two generations with contrasting dreams living alongside each other. The outcome of the generation gap is a bittersweet story of a family caught in a time clash.

Other Details

Production Company
Éclipse Film, Sound Pictures, KRO-NCRV


Dare To Dream Asia


Best First Appearance Nominee, World Premiere
Golden Gate Award Nominee
San Francisco International Film Festival
Best Documentary Award
Zsigmond Vilmos International Film Festival
Best Documentary Award
Film Festival della Lessinia
Best Documentary Award
Bhutan Film Association
IDFA Bertha Fund Classic & Europe
Official Selection
MoMA Doc Fortnight


Arun Bhattarai
Arun Bhattarai
Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Arun Bhattarai graduated from the first edition of DocNomads Joint Master, for which he was awarded a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels. Prior to this, he was working at the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) as a TV director for youth documentaries and TV programmes for more than 5 years. Most of his documentaries have been screened on BBS Television and also festivals like Prix Jeunesse Festival and Alparvima Film Festival. Now he is working as one of the few independent documentary filmmakers in Bhutan.
Dorottya Zurbo
Dorottya Zurbó
Dorottya Zurbó graduated from the first edition of DocNomads Joint Master for which she was awarded full Erasmus Mundus scholarship in Lisbon, Budapest and Brussels. In 2015, she was invited to the IDFAcademy Summer School and was part of Sarajevo Talent Campus. Besides The Next Guardian, she has made her first directorial debut alone with Easy Lessons (2018), which is supported by the Incubator Program of the Hungarian National Film Fund and screened in Hot Docs, Locarno, Camden, Thessaloniki and many more.
Julianna Ugrin
Julianna Ugrin, owner and producer of Éclipse Film, an independent film production company founded in 2011, has developed and produced films on an international level for more than 10 years. Films produced by her were screened, nominated and awarded at international festivals like Sundance, IDFA, LOCARNO, DOK Leipzig, Hot Docs, Sheffield or Sarajevo. She is EURODOC and an EAVE graduate. She is an organizer of DunaDOCK Master Class & Pitching series, member of EDN, of the Hungarian and of the European Film Academy.

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