Thomas directed his first film in 1996; BOSNIA HOTEL was the story of U.N. Kenyan peacekeepers in Bosnia.
Thomas Balmès has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects included studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni.
This was followed by MAHARAJAH BURGER; Mad Cows; Holy Cows, about the mad cow crisis as seen from the Indian perspective.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE PAPUANS (2000) following the conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honored with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. He directed a sequel in Papua the following year, WAITING FOR JESUS.
A DECENT FACTORY, the story of a Nokia executive who inspects a mobile phone factory in China, was screened at more than 50 film festivals and received many honors, including a Europa Award. The film was released theatrically in the U.S. in 2005.
DAMAGES, a.k.a. How Much Is Your Life Worth?, was filmed at a Connecticut law firm specializing in personal injury cases, and was co-produced by 15 countries and broadcast worldwide.
Thomas initiated a series for national Japanese television : NHK, Tokyo Modern; and produced A NORMAL LIFE – CHRONICLE OF A SUMO Wrestler , directed by Jill Coulon, which screened at Amsterdam’s 2009 International Documentary Film Festival.
He is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival.
His next film, BABIES takes a look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. Distributed by Studio Canal and Focus Features, the film was released worldwide in 2010.
Happiness reflects the impact of the arrival of television in a small Himalayan village. Through the eyes of an eight years old monk named Peyangki, praying eagerly for a TV set, we see the last village of Bhutan going through the process of globalization. The film won the Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
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