• Tukdam: Between Worlds (2022) 
  • Film duration: 91 min
  • Date & Time: April 12th starting 18:00 CEST

We tend to think of death as something clear-cut, believing that medical science has it neatly figured out. This feature documentary challenges such assumptions through its exploration of a phenomenon that blurs life and deathto an unprecedented degree. In what Tibetan Buddhists call tukdam, advanced meditators die in a consciously controlled manner in meditation. Though dead according to biomedical standards, they often stay sitting upright in meditation posture; remarkably, their bodies remain fresh and lifelike, without signs of decay for days, sometimes weeks after clinical death. The film follows the first ever scientific research into tukdam by neuroscientist Richard Davidson’s team, juxtaposed with intimate death stories of tukdam meditators and Tibetan understandings of the death process – which include ideas about consciousness and the mind-body connection that are very different to those of mainstream science. Unfolding in cinematic dialogue between scientific and Tibetan perspectives, the film unravels our certainties about life and death, and shows how differently death can be construed in different cultural contexts. In this encounter between worlds, the scientists' methods and views are challenged by a civilization where death has been a central preoccupation for centuries.

Join us on April 12th for a cinematic experience exploring the topic of death. As a community, we will watch the film together on Vimeo, followed by Q&A and discussion with the film director, Donagh Coleman, a 2022 EVA awardee. 



To help offset the costs of this special pre-release screening, we would kindly request a donation (of any size) at the time of registration. We thank you in advance for your generosity. 

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Mind and Life Europe
Zürcher Kantonalbank (Bahnhofstrasse 9, 8001 Zurich)

CHF IBAN: CH44 0070 0110 0012 4365 0 
EUR IBAN: CH37 0070 0130 0006 8718 9 
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Film Director

Finnish-Irish-American filmmaker-scholar Donagh Coleman holds degrees in Philosophy and Psychology (B.A.) and Music and Media Technologies (M.Phil.) from Trinity College Dublin, and a M.A. in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. Donagh is a 2022 Dissertation Fellow in the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Program in Buddhist Studies, and a PhD candidate in medical anthropology at UC Berkeley where his research has focused on Tibetan Buddhist tukdam deaths. Donagh's previous award-winning films with wide international festival and TV exposure include A Gesar Bard's Tale (2013) and Stone Pastures (2008). His films have also been shown at museums such as MoMA and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and by the European Commission. Besides films and TV-docs, Donagh directs radio documentaries for the Finnish and Irish national broadcasters. His Radio Feature Gesar! was Finland’s entry for the 2012 Prix Italia competition, and his feature Do I Exist? was Finland’s entry for the 2015 Prix Europa competition. Donagh has also worked as a TV journalist and presenter for the Finnish broadcaster YLE News.