The fifth Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held from November 3-6 at McLeodganj, Dharamsala.
DIFF is presented by White Crane Arts & Media, a trust founded by veteran filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to promote contemporary cinema, art and independent media practices in the Himalayan region of India.
“This is our fifth year and it means a great deal to us to have reached this milestone,” Sarin said in a statement.
“DIFF has surpassed all our expectations; from starting out as a small event in a town with no cinemas to becoming a truly international festival, with filmmakers, guests and audiences looking forward to coming to here each year from all over the world,” Sarin added.
Sonam said they hope to continue building on the qualities for which DIFF has become known — showcasing a selection of indie films from India and around the globe, encouraging discussion between filmmakers and film lovers in an intimate yet casual atmosphere.
“At the same time, a priority this year is to expand its outreach to local communities, schools and colleges,” Sonam added.
This year, DIFF unveils a new look designed by Wieden+Kennedy Delhi, who have come on board as the Creative Partners for the festival.
Hemant Sreekumar, Director of Experience, explained: “DIFF’s new logotype was evolved out of the linear aspects of Buddhist art, whereas the colour thematic was inspired by the artist Nicholas Roerich’s ethereal himalayan hues.”
For the fourth year in a row, the shorts selection has been curated by filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni, who has been a DIFF participant and supporter from the first edition.
DIFF’s Children’s Film Programme is curated by children’s media specialist Monica Wahi, who selected the films last year as well.
DIFF will also present a selection of videos from the collection of its long-term collaborator, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary.
DIFF has announced the first six films from this edition. These include: “A Syrian Love Story” by British director Sean McAllister; Rajeev Ravi’s third directorial venture “Kammatipaadam”; South Korean director Jeon Soo-il’s “A Korean in Paris”; Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s “Sonita”; Thailand’s director Pimpaka Towira’s “The Island Funeral”; and Marathi film “Lathe Joshi” by Mangesh Joshi.
The gala also continues its Film Fellows programme, which was first set up in 2014 to enable budding filmmakers from the Indian Himalayan region to attend the festival and participate in mentorship sessions with established filmmakers. Filmmakers Umesh Kulkarni and Anupama Srinivasan will mentor the fellows.
This year sees a change of venue from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts to the Tibetan Children’s Village.