The quaint and hilly environs of Dharamsala, a popular spiritual destination in Himachal Pradesh, will come alive with the voice and visuals of independent filmmakers from India and abroad at the sixth edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF), which begins here on Thursday.The extravaganza will also have film screenings at the city's new multiplex with two auditoriums at Gold Cinemas in Lower Dharamsala.The offbeat and independent film fest is organised by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam."We hope to cater to the townspeople of Lower Dharamsala who may not wish to come all the way to Upper Dharamsala, the main venue of the festival," Sarin told IANS.The organisers have also planned to widen the platform for children with an "expanded programme", wherein students from various schools and colleges in the area have also been invited to come for the screenings.Talking about the growth of the festival, Sarin said this is a "development that we had never foreseen".
"There have been many changes since the first edition of DIFF. The biggest change is the way the festival has grown from being a small local event to a national one. Today, DIFF has become one of the more important venues in India for the new generation of Indian independent filmmakers to come and showcase their films," she said.South Asian premieres of three experimental films, including Amar Kanwar's "Such a Morning", Naeem Mohaiemen's "Tripoli Cancelled", and Tan Pin Pin's "In Time To Come", will be held at the gala.The screenings will be split into six different categories: Feature narratives, feature documentaries, shorts, children's films, Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films and special programmes.The widely awarded "Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation)", directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, is its opening film. There will also be a special screening of the critically acclaimed "A Death in the Gunj", which will be presented by director Konkona Sen Sharma.The line-up also includes two award-winning documentaries -- Kirsten Johnson's "Cameraperson" and Rahul Jain's "Machines".This year's feature films include international weaves like Dain Said's "Interchange", Yaniv Berman's "Land of the Little People", Dechen Roder's "Honeygiver Among the Dogs", Yoshinori Sato's "Her Mother", Karma Takapa's "Ralang Road", Deepak Rauniyar's "White Sun" and Nicole van Kilsdonk's "The Day My Father Became A Bush".From the Indian turf, DIFF 2017 will feature India's official entry to the Oscars this year, Amit Masurkar's "Newton", and "Turup", "The Hungry", "Ashwatthama", "Chhuri", "Shunyata", "Death Of A Father", "Visa", "Anukul", "Angamaly Diaries" and more.
Besides the films, the festival will feature sessions like confluence of five independent filmmakers from five very different countries -- Yaniv Berman from Israel, Mano Khalil from Switzerland, Dain Iskander Said from Malaysia, Lijo Jose Pellisery from India and Yoshinori Sato from Japan, who will speak on how their films chart disturbing trends within the fabric of their societies.The festival will also have a masterclass by actor Adil Hussain, and a discussion welcoming a new crop of indie filmmakers from across the country. Producer Tanaji Dasgupta of "The Hungry" fame, will be in discussion with Konkona, Rima Das from Assam, Pushpendra Singh from Rajasthan, Karma Takapa from Sikkim, Bornila Chatterjee from Kolkata and the Ektara Collective from Madhya Pradesh.