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A documentary film by Sheri Brenner

The Artist

“There are spirits of the mountain, spirits of the water.   What if those spirits were gone?  Gone because everyone had moved to different places?  How would they cope with the new environment?”   -Tsherin Sherpa

Above and Below tells the story of just such a spirit.

Tsherin Sherpa, devout Buddhist artist, trained by his father in the art of traditional Tibetan Buddhist thangka painting, moves from Kathmandu to San Francisco and reinvents himself, finding new meaning for an ancient art form, and launching the next wave in Tibetan contemporary art. 


The Film

From prayer flags to billboards, Above and Below tells the story of Tsherin Sherpa’s evolution from devoted religious painter to world renowned artist.  





The Project Story

CU paint0

Urgen Dorje mixes his own paints from ground minerals and gemstones

Sheri Brenner, the film’s Director, met Tsherin during a visit to the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.  He was demonstrating thangka painting.  She was enthralled by his work and they spoke about making a short film.   Tsherin recommended that Sheri film his father, 
Urgen Dorje Sherpa, a master thangka painter known throughout the country, that he would be a far better subject.   That began a project which spanned the next fifteen years in which Sheri filmed Tsherin in the United States and Urgen Dorje Sherpa in Nepal, gaining rare insight into the real world of Tibetan sacred art and lives of its artist.    
Home Page – V3

Urgen Dorje Sherpa and Tsherin Sherpa at home in Boudanath, Nepal

“It was an honor to have a privileged look into the lives of these two artistic masters and teachers.   I knew in my heart that others would also want to enter the sanctum of Buddhist art through this film.  My hope is to share a piece of their world with the audience.” 
-Sheri Brenner

Buddha Thangka by Urgen Dorje Sherpa, 2003

Soon To Be Released: “Images of Enlightenment” is a companion film to Above and Below. It tells the story of Urgen Dorje Sherpa and his contributions to the Art of Thangka Painting.

Watch the Opening

“Rough Cut of Opening Scene of Above and Below” TRT  2:46

Support Above and Below

Project Timeline

The film is in final stage of post-production.  We are seeking completion funding for upcoming museum screenings.   Please support this effort by donating.

Our Potential Funders

Center for Asian American Media

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

National Endowment for the Arts

National Endowment for the Humanities

Grace Foundation


Rubin Museum, New York

San Francisco Asian Art Museum

Tibet Center, New York

University of San Francisco Jesuit Grant Foundation

Key Creative Team

  • Sheri Brenner has produced and directed several documentaries on world culture, sacred art, science and technology including the national PBS broadcast of Sandpainting: Sacred Art of Tibet, and In Beauty I Walk.   Her life’s work is devoted to revealing and sharing the traditions, beliefs, and spiritual philosophies that lift up and strengthen the heart of humanity.   She holds an MFA degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and was the recipient of a Columbia Foundation Grant and a Haas Foundation Grant.  She currently serves as Adjunct Faculty and Media Lab Director in the Media Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.

Where to See the Film

Scheduled Screenings

March, 2022

Nepal Arts Council, Kathmandu

Upcoming Screenings

2022 Rubin Museum, NY, New York

2023 Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA

2023 Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas

Contact Us


Sheri Brenner
Sherizade Productions