Pema Dhondup

Pema Dhondup
  • Film director
  • Actor
  • Voice actor
Notable work

Pema Dhondup Gakyil, who is professionally cred as Pema Dhondup, is a Tibetan film director and actor. He directed and produced We're No Monks (2004) and The Man from Kathmandu (2019), and he provided voiceovers for Tenzin in the Uncharted series of video games. He has resided in Los Angeles, California, since 2004.


Dhondup was born in Tibet. Following the Chinese annexation of Tibet, his family fled to Jomsom, Nepal, before settling in Himachal Pradesh, India.[1] Dhondup earned a degree in marketing from Kurukshetra University in 1990 and began working for the music division of CBS-Sony India.[2] Over the next six years, he produced documentaries, commercial advertising, institutional films, and television series.[2] He became interested in filmmaking after viewing Schindler's List in 1996. From 1999 to 2002 he studied at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California on a Fulbright scholarship. Dhondup stated that he sought to use film to "tell our story, of our community, of our lost generation – a contemporary story of Tibetan youth".[1][2] He and his wife founded their production company Clear Mirror Pictures in 2004.[2] They have made their home in Los Angeles since 2004.[1] In July 2017, Dhondup became a founding partner of TriCity Pictures, which produces films in the Himalayas for a global audience.[2]



Dhondup made his directorial debut with the 2004 Tibetan drama We're No Monks (2004) starring Indian actor Gulshan Grover and Tibetan actor Tsering Dorjee in the lead roles. In a BBC News interview, Dhondup called it "the first film to explore discontent among the young Tibetan exiles".[3] The film was screened at the 2004 Himalayan Film Festival[4] and received mixed reviews from critics and audiences; according to Nyay Bhushan of, it "attempts to deconstruct the image of Tibetans as peaceful monks awash in Technicolor glory in Hollywood".[5]

In 2013, Dhondup wrote and directed a short film called Arise, a drama which won Best Director and Special Jury Prize in the Free Spirit Film Festival.[6][7]

In 2019, Dhondup directed The Man from Kathmandu, an action thriller about radicalism.[8] It stars Gulshan Grover in his Nepalese film debut,[9] Hameed Sheikh, Anna Sharma, and Karma Shakya in the lead roles. The film was made on a budget of five crore Nepalese Rupees (रू 50 million) and was filmed in Kathmandu and Los Angeles.[10] The film has received mixed reviews from audiences and critics, some critics rating the film one out of five.[11] In an interview with The Kathmandu Post, Dhondup said he wanted to make a "film that would expose Nepal and its heritage to the world".[12]


Dhondup has voiced the character Tenzin, a Nepalese man who is unable to speak English, in the video game series Uncharted. Since his first appearance in 2009's Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Dhondup has portrayed the character in 2011's Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and 2016's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. The character is motion-captured by Robin Atkin Downes.[13]



Year Name Director Notes
2004 We're No Monks Yes
2019 The Man from Kathmandu Yes

Video games[]

Year Name Character Notes
2009 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves Tenzin
2011 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Tenzin
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Tenzin


Year Ceremony Category Work Result Refs.
2013 Free Spirit Film Festival Best Director Arise Won [6]
Special Jury Prize Won


  1. ^ a b c "/ARTS WEEKLY/FILM-TIBET: Exiles Take to the Silver Screen". Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Pema Dhondup". LinkedIn. 2019. Archived from the original on 21 August 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Tibet film blasts 'Shangri-La image'". 8 January 2004. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  4. ^ Tibet, International Campaign for (2 November 2004). "Tibet films at Himalayan Film Festival in Amsterdam". International Campaign for Tibet. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  5. ^ "'Monks' Film Deviates from Tibetan Image". Archived from the original on 24 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Film Awards 2013 .:: free spirit film festival ::". Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  7. ^ India, Press Trust of (24 October 2013). "Free Spirit Film Festival ends,'Koan of Spring' wins best film". Business Standard India. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  8. ^ "The Man from Kathmandu goes into production". Archived from the original on 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Gulshan Grover gears up for his Nepali debut". DNA India. 9 March 2019. Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  10. ^ Republica. "First look of "The man from Kathmandu"". My City. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  11. ^ "The scam from Kathmandu: an honest film review from an actual man from Kathmandu". Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  12. ^ "The Man from Kathmandu: first 'global Nepali film' to release today". Archived from the original on 20 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Tenzin". Uncharted France (in French). Archived from the original on 23 March 2019. Retrieved 23 March 2019.

External links[]