The first day of the 6th edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) 2017 kicked off with an inauguration ceremony and the screening of Shubhashish Bhutiani’s much acclaimed film Mukti Bhawan which was presented by its lead actor Adil Hussain.
The four day film festival is being held at the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) — a beautiful, sprawling venue, 15 minutes’ drive from McLeod Ganj from 2nd to 5th November 2017.
The inaugural ceremony of the festival saw actor Adil Hussain address an enthusiastic audience who had turned up in large numbers on the opening day of the festival.
The opening day saw a talented bunch of children from the Junior class of Tibetian Children’s Village school sing Tibetian songs. This was followed by the announcement of the winners of the Children’s Film Appreciation Competition Course. The winners from the Junior category were Samdol Lhamao from Peoten School and Kritika from Gamru Village School, Dharamshala. While the winners from the Senior category were Manthan Karky and Vasundhara Thapa from The Army School, Dharamshala.
This was followed by the screening of Mukti Bhawan and a post screening Q&A in which Adil Hussain enthusiastically answered the varied questions that were posed to him by the audience.
During the course of the Q&A, Adil Hussain also remarked about how he recollected the memories he shared with his father while he was prepping up for his role in Mukti Bhawan.
Also present at the opening day ceremony and screening was Barry John, internationally renowned actor, director, writer and founder of the noted acting institute Barry John Acting Studio. Incidentally, Adil Hussain is also a protégé of Barry John.
Adil Hussain who was delighted to attend the festival and witness audience’s reaction to Mukti Bhawan said “The Dharamshala International Film Festival is my favourite film festival in India because there are no frills attached to it. It is purely about watching films and meeting people and due to the lack of frills there are opportunities to make real contact. This aspect makes it a really special and unique festival.”
Winding up the 1st day, founder-director Ritu Sarin said, “I am glad to say that we had a full house on the opening day of the festival. The atmosphere was electric and I am so happy and delighted to see this.”
The well known Barry John who was overwhelmed after watching Mukti Bhawan said “A film like Mukti Bhawan is so moving and one is at a loss for words. There are so many emotions one experiences that one doesn’t know how to cope with it.”
This year’s line-up includes two award-winning documentaries—Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson (USA, 2016), Rahul Jain’s Machines (India, 2016) which screened at 10 international film festivals, and won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Excellence in Cinematography at 2017’s Sundance Film Festival.
There will be a special screening of the critically acclaimed A Death in the Gunj, presented in person by director Konkona Sen Sharma.
DIFF 2017 will also feature the Indian premiere of Out of This World (USA), a newly restored version of journalist and writer Lowell Thomas’ fascinating account of his travels to Tibet in 1949 (originally released in 1954).
This year’s feature films include Dain Said’s Interchange (Malaysia, 2016), Yaniv Berman’s Land of the Little People (Israel, 2016), Dechen Roder’s Honeygiver Among the Dogs (Bhutan, 2016), Yoshinori Sato’s Her Mother (Japan), Mano Khalil’s The Swallow (Switzerland), Karma Takapa’s Ralang Road, which premiered at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival (an Indian film to be selected at the fest after 13 years), and Deepak Rauniyar’s Oscar entry from Nepal, White Sun which premiered at 73rd Venice Film Festival and won Interfilm Award and new voices/new visions grand jury prize at the Palm Springs festival.
DIFF continues its tradition of showcasing experimental films by presenting the South Asia premieres of three features by well-known artists and filmmakers: Amar Kanwar’s Such a Morning (India), and Naeem Mohaiemen’s Tripoli Cancelled (Bangladesh), both of which premiered this year at Documenta 14; and Singapore filmmaker Tan Pin Pin’s In Time to Come, which had its world premiere at Visions du Reel and was in competition at Hot Docs and Sheffield Doc Fest.
This year’s shorts selection is curated by filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni, whilst our Children’s Film Programme is curated by children’s media specialist Monica Wahi.
DIFF 2017 registrations are now open and passes can be bought online on Book My Show – https://in.bookmyshow.com/events/dharamshala-international-film-festival-2017/ET00061905
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 regions of India.
This year’s festival is once again supported by its long-term partners, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, and the Government of Himachal Pradesh through its departments of Tourism, and Language, Arts, and Culture.
The first edition of DIFF was held in 2012. Since then, it has become established as one of India’s leading independent film festivals. DIFF’s cutting-edge and eclectic programming, which includes many India premieres, and its policy of inviting as many directors as possible, has made it one of the ‘go-to’ events in any cinephile’s calendar. At DIFF 2016, hundreds of cinema enthusiasts from across India and the world converged to watch films and discuss the state of modern cinema—whilst some of India’s best-known film critics and journalists were on hand to cover the event.