Film was a labour of love


AFTER several years in the making, the award-winning, feature-length documentary Akong: A Remarkable Life, about the life of Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche, is being screened in the Buccleuch Centre, Langholm.

The film has been a labour of love for director Chico Dall’Inha and producer, Jorg Wagner, cinematographer, Gerry McCulloch, and executive producer, Vin Harris.

It is, above all else, a film about compassion. Almost three and a half years since Akong Rinpoche’s senseless murder in Chengdu, China, his message of compassion-in-action needs to be heard more than ever.

Against a backdrop of stunning Himalayan photography, the film charts Akong Rinpoche’s perilous escape from Chinese-invaded Tibet, in 1959; to becoming a refugee, first in India, then in the UK; and his incredible life’s work, centred on the establishment and development of Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Eskdalemuir and many Buddhist meditation centres in Europe and Africa.

It charts an important period of history from the political occupation in Tibet to social revolution in the west. It holds a spotlight to the many inspirational qualities which Akong Rinpoche embodied and the achievements beyond Samye Ling for which he was responsible, including his teaching, charity work, pioneering Tara Rokpa Therapy and the establishment of ROKPA International.

This is a story told by many of the people who knew him best. It includes Indian actor Kabir Bedi, writer Mick Brown and Lord David Steele. It includes unseen footage of Akong Rinpoche and appearances by great living Tibetan Masters such as his brother, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, Ringu Tulku Rinpoche and Chime Rinpoche.

Langholm artist Ann Smith is exhibiting The Wonders of Wool, a collection of her work, at the Tolbooth Art Centre, Kirkcudbright from today until May 7.

Ann is a mixed media artist who mainly works in oils and wool fibres creating artworks which are colourful and full of texture. Her current work features land and seascapes and floral studies.

She is inspired by her surrounding scenery which has been captured while out and about and on her travels. This exhibition is solely devoted to her wool felt work.

The wool felt pieces are created using the wet and needle felting techniques. She mainly uses dyed merino wool fibres, wool locks, tussah silk, angelina fibres, silk noils and wool nepps to create her work.

Once the fibres have been felted, further detail is added by hand and machine stitching. This is her sixth solo exhibition at the Tolbooth. As well as original pieces of art and craft work on show, she has a selection of giclee prints and greetings cards for sale.

Her next exhibition is in her native Perthshire where she will be exhibiting a mixture of paintings and wool felt work, along with another 30 artists and makers at the In the Garden with Friends exhibition at The Bield from May 13 to June 4.

In the summer she will exhibit work at the Cafe Gallery in Gracefield, Dumfries for the first time.

Ann currently has her paintings at Cut the Mustard Gallery and the Art Corner Gallery in Langholm and The Gallery, Melrose. In Blue Moon, Langholm there is a selection of cards, prints and wool felt crafts.

She is running some half-day and full-day wool felt workshops in Langholm. Classes are small so everyone can get the most out of their day. The workshops are for beginners and cover wet felting and needle felting. Further details are at or email

Taking its lead from French artists like Renoir and Monet, the American Impressionist movement followed its own path and over 40 years reveals as much about America as a nation as it does about its art as a creative powerhouse.

It’s a story closely tied to a love of gardens and a desire to preserve nature in a rapidly urbanising nation. Travelling to studios, gardens and iconic locations in the USA, UK and France, The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism is a feast for the eyes.

As America steamed into the industrial age, urban reformers fought to create public parks and gardens which provided unlimited inspiration for artists and a never-ending oasis for the growing middle class made up of increasingly independent women who relished the writings of English horticulturalists Gertrude Jekyll and William Robinson.

The film features the sell-out exhibition The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887–1920 which began at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Green-fingered Seymour Krellborn (Roddy Burrows) is one of life's losers until nurturing a strange and interesting plant brings him fortune, fame and the girl of his dreams, Audrey (Heather Hood). But his amazing creation has a gruesome secret.

Under NODA award-nominated musical director Janice Jackson, Carlisle's longest running amateur theatre group make a long-awaited return to a full-length musical. Howard Ashman's kitsch classic has been on a UK revival tour and with favourite numbers such as Skid Row and Suddenly Seymour, it promises an extra large bunch of thrills and laughs along the way.

Little Shop of Horrors plays at the Old Fire Station in Carlisle this Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 11:32AM
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