Shangri-La, Paradise under Construction
Documentary, 2023

Shangri-La, Paradise under Construction (2022)
Directors: Mirka Duijn & Nina Spiering

A travelogue through Shangri-La; the fictitious paradise from the classic novel Lost Horizon (1933). Twenty years ago a Tibetan tourist spot in China presented scientific proof that it was the real Shangri-La. In her search for the truth behind the supposed evidence the filmmaker excavates layers of fact and fiction of the area. What words and images have attached themselves to facts? How do stories come into being and how do they shape reality?

Presently, the film is being internationally distributed, making its way to various festivals, television broadcasts, and video-on-demand platforms.

The film is part of a wider research project, with multiple outcomes, amongst which publications, installations and lecture performances. Read more about the research behind the project here.


SVT Sweden, 2023
NPO Netherlands, due in 2023 


World premiere at IDFA, International Film Festival in Amsterdam, 2022, in competition for Best Dutch Documentary.
DocPoint Tallin/Helsinki 2023, Trento Internation

al Film Festival 2023, Millennium Docs Against Gravity Warsaw 2023 Dutch Film Festival 2023

Film Theatre
Theatrical release in 23 film theatres in the Netherlands in January 2023.  
Nominations, prices

Nominated ‘Best Dutch Documentary at IDFA, 2022’, Nominated Best Film Music for Documentary, BUMA Netherlands, 2023’, in Competition at Trento Film Festival, 2023, in Competition at Millennium Docs Against Gravity Warsaw 2023  

International Sales:
Journeyman Pictures

Produced by:
De Productie (NL),
Film Kreatörerna (SE),
Studio Kimmo (NL)

Funded by:
Dutch Film Fund,
Amsterdam Fund for the Art
Swedish Film Fund.

Read the reviews in Newspapers:

NRC Newspaper ︎︎︎︎
Volkskrant ︎︎︎
Fries Dagblad ︎︎︎︎
Telegraaf ︎︎︎1/2
Parool review
Trouw review
Filmkrant review

Read the international IDA-review

“A film that richly explores the creation of meaning from different perspectives that infuse the project of “paradise under construction,” and leaves viewers with hard questions to ask themselves about exoticization and power.” - Patricia Aufderheide

Read the international Modern Times Review:

“In their film Shangri-La, Paradise under Construction, directors Mirka Duijn and Nina Spiering reconsidered the most basic premises of documentary filmmaking – truth, evidence, and interpretation.”

“Even if the fantastic nature of Shangri-La might indicate that this documentary will be about fantasy, it is not. The key theme of Shangri-La, Paradise Under Construction, is the reality and the mysterious ways of its construction.”  - Melita Zajc

Other media:

Listen to an interview on Opium Radio (in Dutch).

Interview in the Dutch Film Newspaper: Filmkrant (in Dutch).

Interview in SEE.NL (in English).

Listen to an interview on the Ketelhuis Podcast (In Dutch).