Screen Time

In its third edition, the Dharamshala International Film Festival is transforming the town into a key destination for indie filmmakers and cinephiles.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Updated: August 3, 2014 12:00:35 am

There is one thing that award-winning filmmaker Ritu Sarin firmly believes in — people deserve good cinema. People also deserve a reasonably good cine-space — to watch, learn, present and to mentor. So, Sarin along with her filmmaker husband, Tenzing Sonam, pooled in their resources and started the Dharamshala International Film Festival in 2012. The third edition of DIFF, which will be held from October 30 to November 2 in McLeodganj, will have new elements, such as the Himalayan Filmmakers’ Fellowship Programme.

“Five up-and-coming filmmakers from the Himalayan region will be selected and brought to DIFF to watch films, participate in masterclasses and workshops, and have one-on-one mentorship sessions with visiting filmmakers,” says Sarin. Applicants have to send a link to a short film directed by them by August 30.

Sarin and Sonam’s focus has been to transform Dharamshala into a key destination for indie filmmakers and cinephiles from across India and the world. “Quality cinema is nourishing. With Himachal missing this largely, we decided to establish DIFF as an alternative cultural
space away from the metros; and to create a meaningful, non-partisan cultural platform to engage all communities that inhabit the area,” says Sarin. She is working on a feature film along with Sonam, titled The Sweet Requiem, about the world of exiled Tibetans.

The DIFF time table includes 24 full-length feature films and documentaries such as Talal Derki’s Return to Homs (about a group of young revolutionaries, who fight for justice through peaceful demonstrations, in the city of Homs in western Syria), Jehane Noujaim’s The Square (a close-up of personal stories unfolding against the background of the Egyptian revolution) and Pushpa Rawat/Anupama Srinivasan’s Nirnay (a study of the choices a few young women, including Rawat, made regarding marriage and career and their outcome).

Animation filmmaker Gitanjali Rao will hold a workshop and present her new film True Love Story (official Cannes 2014 selection). Rao will also curate a selection of international animation films, while another filmmaker, Umesh Kulkarni, will curate a package of new Indian short films.

There will also be a food, arts and crafts fair at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Log on to

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