The Shadow Circus: CIA in Tibet

English (subtitled), 50 min, 1998, UK

The Tibetan people are well known for being devoutly religious and peace loving. What is less known is that thousands of Tibetans took up arms against the invading forces of Communist China and waged a bitter and bloody guerrilla war. From the mid-1950s until 1969 they were aided in their efforts by an unlikely ally, the CIA. This project, code-named ST CIRCUS, was one of the CIA's longest running covert operations. The withdrawal of the CIA's support in 1969 was as abrupt as its initial involvement was unexpected: the Tibetans had simply fitted into America's larger policy of destabilising or overthrowing Communist regimes, and when that no longer applied, they were abandoned.
 
With unique archive footage and exclusive interviews with former resistance fighters and surviving CIA operatives, ‘The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet’ reveals for the first time this hitherto unknown chapter in Tibet's recent history - a tale that is both heroic and tragic, full of sad ironies and unexpected twists that overturn all preconceptions about both Tibet and the CIA.
 

 
Producer:
Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
 
Creative Crew
Camera:
Ranjan Palit, Steve McCarthy
Editing:
Elliot McCaffrey
Sound:
Charles Meyer
Music:
Julian Stewart Lindsay
 
Awards and Screenings:

 
Film Festivals:
Asian American Film Festival, San Francisco, 2000
Mountainfilm, Telluride (USA), 1999, Best Historical Film
Mill Valley Film Festival, California, 1999
Amnesty International Film Festival, Vancouver, 1999
Mumbai International Film Festival, 1999

Screenings:
TIPA Hall, Dharamsala
India International Centre, New Delhi
Indigo Gallery, Kathmandu
University of California, Berkeley
Stanford University
Harvard University
Anthology Film Archives, New York
Kino Xenix, Zurich
Minnesota Film Center, Minneapolis
Cinema City, Norwich
 
Broadcasts:
BBC (UK), DRS (Switzerland), WDR (Germany),
SAB (South Africa), Iberian Program Services (Spain);
Stream SPA (Italy), Poland and Australia
PBS (USA), April 2002