The Ladakhi film industry, which was described recently in a major newspaper article, has now been portrayed in an Indian documentary film called “Out of Thin Air.”

According to a review in The Hindu last week, the new documentary shows how the Ladakhi films portray “the landscape and its people in the harsh attractiveness of Ladakh … seeped in a visual language of immense feeling and a childish curiosity.” One of the most charming aspects of the films made in Ladakh is apparently the fact that the lead actors are native Ladakhis rather than professionals—ordinary people who want to depict the various personalities of their country.

One of the co-directors of the new documentary, Samreen Farooqui, commented at the screening that “the characters you see in the film are the backbone of the film industry in Ladakh.” She and her co-director, Shabani Hassanwalia, spent a year in Ladakh doing the filming in order to produce the 50 minute documentary.

The Hindu feels that the film industry in Ladakh provides a way for the Ladakhi people to value and preserve their own culture. The new documentary depicts the way the films mix the approaches of Bollywood with themes from the local society and culture. It shows the serene, rugged beauty of the land effectively, and, according to the review, it is enhanced by a lilting score.

The documentary includes such characters as a friendly young Buddhist monk, who writes love songs and scripts, and a taxi driver who portrays a villain in the locally-made films. Production of the documentary was supported by the India Foundation for the Arts. Unfortunately, a Google video search does not as yet turn up even a trailer for the documentary. But in the opinion of the reviewer, “the film may be short, but it works perfectly…” It was screened recently in Delhi.