Dharamshala.…whenever we hear this name, first thing that comes into our mind is “Tibet”. But few days back it was in news for some totally DIFFerent reasons…Filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, along with their team of dedicated volunteers from across the world, under the banner of White Crane Arts & Media Trust organized the third edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival 2014. The third edition of this small, eclectic and independent film festival that has been charm­ing viewers with both its programme and location was back in McLeod Ganj.

Dedicated to showcasing independent films — documentaries, features, shorts and animation from India and abroad — this year’s Diff in November was no different. Curated around the themes of home and belonging, it was a tour de alternative. The third Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) kicked off at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts with the screening of Rajat Kapoor‘s film, Ankhon Dekhi.10710531_746837278729884_7948383035336773342_n

Apart from a terrific line-up of feature, documentary, animation and short films, the Dharamshala International Film Festival comes with workshops, master classes and panel discussions with filmmakers from India and overseas. The listing includes Rajat Kapoor’s Ankhon Dekhi, Hansal Mehta’s City Lights, Geethu Mohandas’ Liar’s Dice and Chaitanya Tam­hane’s Court. Moreover, exiled Tibetan filmmaker Tenzin Tsetan Choklay is coming over from New York for the India premiere of Bringing Tibet Home. Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj’s pre-eminence as global tourist destinations with a fantastic mix of international cultures up in the mountains makes DIFF all the more irresistible.

Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin, the filmmaker couple who started the festival in 2012, said the films this year were selected for their strong personal stamp, their clearly articulated authorial vision, and their undertow of deep humanistic concern. “We were instinctively drawn to films that dealt with issues and subjects that we were close to, or that we felt reflected the state of our world today and were relevant across borders and cultures- political conflict, marginalized communities, questions of identity, the intersection of art and life,” said Tenzing Sonam

This year’s festival also started the DIFF Film Fellows Programme, in which a selected number of young filmmakers from the Indian Himalayan regions will be selected to come to the festival, attend film screenings, masterclasses and workshops, and engage in one-on-one mentoring sessions with established filmmakers. Additionally, there will be special Outreach Programmes to ensure participation and involvement of local schools and colleges in the festival, as well as a Food, Arts and Crafts Fair for the duration of the festival at our main venue, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA).

DIFF aims to bring independent films to the mountains to promote and encourage local film-makers, and to promote mutual understanding by creating a non-partisan cultural platform to engage and involve all communities that inhabit the area,” said the organizers.

Video & Photo Courtesy: www.diff.co.in

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