Crossing Bhutan follows the journey of four American adventurers as they travel 500 miles (804km), by foot and bike, from the west to the east of Bhutan – a country of ancient traditions and mind-blowing natural beauty, with a belief in gross national happiness as a measure of progress.
A remote and magical Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas of South Asia, Bhutan was the last country in the world to introduce television and the internet and is on the cusp of widespread modernisation.
Writer and director Ben Henretig examine the impact the modern world and its consumerist temptations is having on this timeless culture.
The 42-day trek shows the immense beauty of Bhutan’s natural landscape and captures the spirit of the Bhutanese people, including the current prime minister Tshering Tobgay, who joins the team for part of their 70km mountain bike ride.
It is an emotional journey as much as a physical one – depicting Henretig’s desire to tell inspirational stories that capture the best of humanity.
Bhutan is a “place that has something to share with the Western world”, he says.
This feature-length documentary was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and drew a sold-out audience for its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February.
It features stirring music by award-winning artist Imogen Heap, who joined the team on their human-powered journey across the country. – Michelle Steel