Pawo Choyning Dorji becomes the youngest recipient of Druk Thuksey

 Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom became the first Bhutanese film to earn an Oscar nomination as one of five nominees for Best International Feature for 2022


2022 National Day witnessed His Majesty the King conferring Pawo Choyning Dorji, the Royal Order of Bhutan (Druk Thuksey meaning Son of the Heart of the Thunder Dragon), thus, becoming the youngest Druk Thuksey recipient.

He received the Druk Thuksey for his exceptional contribution to the Bhutanese film industry.

Being one of five nominees for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards, his movie Lunana, A Yak in the Classroom made history as the first Bhutanese film to do so.

39-year-old Pawo is from Chumig, Bumthang. He completed his higher studies from Yangchenphug Higher Secondary School and did his undergraduate from Lawrence University in Wisconsin, USA.

The film, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is translated in 27 languages and was commercially released in 53 countries around the world.

The film even bagged 21 international awards and 30 nominations.

Pawo Choyning said, “Getting the Druk Thuksey from His Majesty The King in front of the nation is the biggest achievement that I can ever dream of.”

He said more than an individual recognition, this award for him is everything that he represents.

The renowned filmmaker further said, it is a message for him, artist and story tellers of Bhutan to hold our culture, play important part in nation building and His Majesty The King’s confidence in the youth of today and tomorrow.

He added it is an award for his crew and cast who have sacrificed for his story to be made and told. “Even though I am the one receiving the revered medal, I should say that it is a collective effort.”

Moreover, he is grateful to his supportive family for helping him pursue his aspirations.

In addition, he said that every aspect of his life from spirituality to film making have been guided by his teacher, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche for which he is truly grateful. “It is only through his guidance and his blessings that I find myself where I am.”

Pawo Choyning is also the first film maker in the country to receive the medal and the only recipient of the medal for this year’s national day.

Last year saw United Nations Bhutan, Drukair, Royal Bhutan Airlines, The Bhutan Emergency Aeromedical Retrieval Team and Dasho Dorji Gyeltshen receiving the prestigious medal.

Individuals and organization who have made numerous contributions to the socio-economic, religious, and political development and progress of Bhutan are given the honour of receiving a Druk Thuksey.