Sneak peek into the 8th Dharamshala International Film Festival

Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) along with Picture Time’s mobile digiplex will host the film screenings, masterclass sessions and lectures in the foothills of the Himalayas

(File photo)
(File photo)

Murtaza Ali Khan

Right from its inception in the year 2012, the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) has proven to be a haven for independent cinema. DIFF is presented by White Crane Arts & Media—a trust founded by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to promote contemporary cinema, art and independent media practices in the Himalayan regions of India.

This year again, the festival will showcase an eclectic mix of independent features, documentaries, shorts and animation films from India as well as around the world. In the words of Ritu Sarin, the underlying vision behind DIFF is “to select films that combine a deeply personal vision with themes that resonate with our times”. The Indian fiction and documentary features that are a part of the DIFF lineup this year include films such as Ekta Mittal’s Birha, Priya Sen’s Yeh Freedom Life, and Archana Phadke’s About Love. Prateek Vats’s Eeb Allay Ooo and Gitanjali Rao’s Bombay Rose are opening and closing films of the festival.

The international features include films like Dawn Gifford Engle’s The Dalai Lama – Scientist, Thomas Heise’s Heimat is a Space in Time, Kazuhiro Soda’s Inland Sea, Kavich Neang’s Last Night I Saw You Smiling, Zita Erffa’s The Best Thing You Can Do With Your Life, Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela, and Ali Jaberansari’s Tehran: City of Love. The short films that will be screened at the 2019 DIFF include Gauri Adelkar’s The Little Goddess, Andrew Scott’s The Horns of Kolkata, Abhinava Bhattacharyya’s Jamnapaar, Tenzin Kalden’s Light a Candle, Behzad Jafarimazhab Haghighi’s Nemesis, Sohil Vaidya’s The Timekeeper, and Ho Rui An’s Student Bodies.

The 8th edition of DIFF also has a special programme on children’s films. The lineup includes Vinod Kamble’s feature film Kastoori as well as three short films viz. The Award (directed by Lidija Mojsovska), School Trip (directed by Salvatore Allocca) and Chicken at Swami’s Kitchen (directed by Sachin Balachandiran). Also, there is a separate category wherein DIFF is partnering with Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films to present a package of short films like Anubhav Anand’s Chintu, Mansi Jain’s Everything Is Fine, Jai Sharma’s Gadhedo, Sanjeev Vig‘s Rogan Josh, and Suchana Saha’s Maa Tuki.

In addition to the films, the 2019 DIFF will also feature an acting workshop by noted actor Adil Hussain. Swiss filmmaker Samuel Weniger will explore the creative possibilities of images in documentaries and essay films on the basis of concrete examples from his film Golden Age which he has co-directed and shot. Also, Japanese documentary filmmaker Kazuhiro Soda will enlighten audiences on his unique approach to observational documentary filmmaking.

DIFF may not be the biggest festival around but it is certainly one of the most charming and intimate film festivals thanks to the breathtaking vistas surrounding the venue. The greatest advantage is that the festival directors, Ritu and Tenzing, are filmmakers themselves. Also, as opposed to most other film festivals, DIFF has minimal corporate intervention: there are no film markets or big commercial events running parallel to the festival. And despite all this it is a wonderful place for connecting with people who share a great love for cinema and arts. The festival programming is carefully planned so that there is no mad rush and in between movies the attendants can easily catch up with the filmmakers and the actors visiting the festival.

The 8th edition of the festival will be hosted at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala from 7-10 November.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines