Jayaraj Manepalli

Dirk Simon, a young film-maker, is busy interviewing pilgrims and filming them

His recent film, Zwischen den Zeilen (Between the Lines), was screened in many International film festivalsHis coming film is based on the situation in Tibet, the struggles of a traditional Tibetan king's family and the aspirations of the youth The film has some exclusive shots taken during the king's coronation at Dharmashala in June 2004

AMARAVATHI: While hundreds of Buddhists from across the world are busy listening to the speeches of their leader Dalai Lama, a young film-maker interested in Tibetan Buddhism is busy interviewing Tibetans and filming them.

Dirk Simon, a filmmaker, director and author, whose recent film, Zwischen den Zeilen (Between the Lines) was screened in many International film festivals, is busy shooting for his next assignment 'The Will to Survive' at the Kalachakra 2006 at Amaravathi in Guntur district.

"The film is based on the current situation in Tibet, the struggles of a traditional Tibetan king's family, the aspirations of the youth and the peculiar challenges the young king faces," said Dirk Simon speaking to The Hindu . He is accompanied by Oliver Karsitz, his friend handling the editing of the film.

His first film 'Behind the wall' won critical acclaim and grabbed world's attention, raising some fundamental questions on the very concept of freedom. It is the story of an East German soldier, Egon Bunge, manning the border gate who kills Ulrich Steinhauer, his corporal and escapes to West Berlin.

"Though this film centres on the death of a soldier, a divided country and the struggle of its citizens to come to grips with the past, its study of the basic human condition has a universal appeal," he says.

Simon was born and brought up in East Germany, close to West Berlin and the Berlin Wall. With a degree from the Academy of Performing Arts in Burghausen, West Germany, Simon has been involved with many independent film and theatre projects in both Germany and America.

"I began thinking about what it would take me to obtain this freedom -- what kind of sacrifices would I be willing to make -- in order to be free," he says on the film's content.

Long trail

His assignment took him to various places -- the trail of Bunge into West Germany, victims' family members, court officials, former East German Secret Service (Stasi) and retired border officers.

He poignantly portrays the stories of the two men in his film-- Steinhauer, whose life was cut short, and Bunge, whose remaining years were filled with the horrid guilt of both killer and survivor.

'The will to survive' tries to look at a young Tibetan king who has ascended a throne more than thousand years old. His dual position-- as a kid and a king is one of the issues this film handles, Simon says.

The film has some exclusive shots taken during the king's coronation at Dharmashala in June 2004 and the sound bytes of different people taken at Amaravathi. "The film is funded from my own resources but I look forward for someone with similar interests coming forward to team up," he adds.