Dharamshala International Film Festival
The Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) is an international film festival showcasing the best of recent Indian and world cinema, including fiction, documentaries and shorts. DIFF debuted on 1 to 4 November 2012 in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala, India. The second edition was held from the 24th to the 27th October, 2013, and the third edition will be happening from the 30th of October to the 2nd of November, 2014.
The festival was conceptualized by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam of White Crane Films as a means of bringing quality contemporary, independent cinema to the culturally diverse location of Dharamshala. DIFF will be presented through their trust White Crane Arts & Media, which promotes contemporary art, cinema and independent media practices in the Himalayan region.
As long-term residents of Dharamshala, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam have long believed that the culturally eclectic town would make an ideal location for an international film festival. Nestled in the hills of the Dhauladhar Himalayan mountain range, it is a small but cosmopolitan town populated by local Gaddis, Rajputs, Tibetan refugees and foreign expatriates from around the world. Home to the Dalai Lama and the capital of the Tibetan diaspora, Dhamashala is a unique converging point of various cultures, religions, ethnicities and languages. Sarin and Sonam aspire to establish DIFF “as a world-class film festival where filmmakers and film lovers can interact in an intimate, creative and informal way” and to “promote and encourage local filmmaking talent.”
Held in a town with no cinema, the festival’s primary audience is the local Indian and Tibetan population. Addressing the lack of access to high-quality, non-commercial cinema, DIFF offers the town’s residents a window into the world of contemporary film, enriching their knowledge and understanding of other places and cultures. Apart from sharing their love for cinema, Ritu and Tenzing aim to fill the cultural gap small towns face in terms of cinema and arts.
The first edition of DIFF screened 26 feature films, shorts and documentaries from around the world, drawing over 5000 film-lovers from across India. In addition to the film screenings, the festival included panel discussions and master classes with filmmakers from India and abroad, such as Jennifer Fox, Karim El Hakim, Guy Davidi and Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni.
The 2012 edition was preceded by an international artists’ workshop jointly organized by White Crane Arts & Media and the Delhi-based Khoj International Artists’ Association held in Dharamshala from 20 October to 1 November. It also featured a live music performance by Tibetan traditional folk musicians 
|Miss Lovely||India||2012||Drama||Ashim Ahluwalia||102 min|
|5 Broken Cameras||Palestine/Israel||2012||Documentary||Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi||90 min|
|My Reincarnation||USA||2010||Documentary||Jennifer Fox||82 min|
|½ Revolution||Denmark/Egypt||2012||Documentary||Karim El Hakim & Omar Shargawi||72 min|
|Nostalgia for the Light||Chile||2010||Documentary||Patricio Guzman||90 min|
|Pina||Germany||2011||Documentary||Wim Wenders||106 min|
|HaHaHa||South Korea||2010||Drama||Hong Sang-soo||116 min|
|Senna||UK||2010||Documentary||Asif Kapadia||106 min|
|Oka!||USA||2011||Drama||Lavinia Currier||106 min|
|Deool||India||2011||Drama||Umesh Kulkarni||135 min|
|Gattu||India||2012||Documentary||Rajan Khosa||90 min|
|When Hari Got Married||India||2012||Documentary||Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam||75 min|
The Second Edition of the festival was held from the 24th to the 27th October 2013. Approximately 30 fiction, documentary, short and experimental films were showcased.
An unusual and exciting feature of DIFF 2013 was a series of films made by leading contemporary international artists that are rarely seen outside the gallery space, presented by the Vienna-based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation.
A sidebar showcased the best of recent short films from India, curated by noted Indian filmmaker Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni. A number of acclaimed Indian and international filmmakers and industry professionals invited to attend DIFF interacted with the audience through Q&A sessions, panel discussions and filmmaking masterclasses.
|Gulabi Gang||India||2012||Documentary||Nishtha Jain||96 min|
|Menstrual Man||India||2013||Documentary||Amit Virmani||63 min|
|To Let The World In||India||2013||Documentary||Avijit Mukul Kishore||93 min|
|Jai Bhim Comrade||India||2011||Documentary||Anand Patwardhan||199 min|
|Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry||USA/China||2012||Documentary||Alison Klayman||91 min|
|The Act of Killing||Denmark/Norway/UK||2012||Documentary||Joshua Oppenheimer||59 min|
|Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer||UK/Russia||2013||Documentary||Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin||88 min|
|The Rocket||Australia||2013||Drama||Kim Mordaunt||96 min|
|Lasting||Poland||2013||Drama||Jacek Borcuch||95 min|
|With You Without You||Sri Lanka||2012||Drama||Prasanna Vithanage||90 min|
|The Strange Little Cat||Germany||2013||Drama||Ramon Zürcher||72 min|
|Fandry||India||2013||Drama||Nagraj Popatrao Manjule||103 min|
|Tasher Desh||India||2012||Drama||Q||112 min|
|Crossing Bridges||India||2013||Drama||Sange Dorjee Thongdok||103 min|
|Neighbouring Sounds||Brazil||2012||Drama||Kleber Mendonça Filho||131 min|
|Thursday till Sunday||Chile/Netherlands||2012||Drama||Dominga Sotomayor||96 min|
The third edition of DIFF showcased 27 full-length feature films and documentaries, and a selection of short animation films, selected from the best of contemporary independent cinema, from the 30th of October to the 2nd of November 2014.
The 2014 edition of the festival counted with 12 filmmakers from India and abroad, film critics, and industry and media personnel, to attend the festival and participate in Q&A sessions. There were also Masterclasses and Workshops, including a Special Animation Workshop conducted by India’s leading animation filmmaker, Gitanjali Rao.
This edition marked the start of the DIFF Film Fellows Programme, in which a selected number of young filmmakers from the Indian Himalayan regions were 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 were 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 DIFF's main venue, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA).
|Ankhon Dekhi||India||2013||Narrative||Rajat Kapoor||107 min|
|CityLights||India||2014||Narrative||Hansal Mehta||126 min|
|Court||India||2014||Narrative||Chaitanya Tamhane||116 min|
|Eat Sleep Die||Sweden||2012||Narrative||Gabriela Pichler||100 min|
|Killa||India||2014||Narrative||Avinash Arun||105 min|
|Liar's Dice||India||2013||Narrative||Geetu Mohandas||103 min|
|Omar||Palestine||2013||Narrative||Hany Abu-Assad||97 min|
|Only Lovers Left Alive||UK, Germany, Greece||2013||Narrative||Jim Jarmusch||123 min|
|Papusza||Poland||2013||Narrative||Joanna Kos-Krauze & Krzysztof Krauze||131 min|
|Remote Control||Mongolia, Germany, USA||2013||Narrative||Byamba Sakhya||90 min|
|Sunrise||India, France||2014||Narrative||Partho Sen-Gupta||85 min|
|Vara: A Blessing||Bhutan, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka||2013||Narrative||Khyentse Norbu||96 min|
|Zinda Bhaag||Pakistan||2013||Narrative||Meenu Gaur & Farjad Nabi||114 min|
|A Gesar Bard's Tale||Finland||2013||Documentary||Donagh Coleman & Lharigtso||82 min|
|A World Not Ours||Palestine, Lebanon, UAE||2012||Documentary||Mandi Fleifel||93 min|
|Bringing Tibet Home||South Korea, USA||2013||Documentary||Tenzin Tsetan Choklay||82 min|
|Cambodian Son||Cambodia||2014||Documentary||Masahiro Sugano||90 min|
|Chimeras||Finland||2013||Documentary||Mika Mattila||87 min|
|Nirnay||India||2012||Documentary||Pushpa Rawat||56 min|
|Return to Homs||Germany, Syrian Arab Republic||2013||Documentary||Talal Derki||94 min|
|The Beekeeper||Switzerland||2013||Documentary||Mano Khalil||107 min|
|The Dossier||China||2014||Documentary||Zhu Rikun||128 min|
|The Last Adieu||India||2013||Documentary||Shabnam Sukhdev||90 min|
|The Square||USA||2013||Documentary||Jehane Noujaim||95 min|
|To Singapore, with Love||Singapore||2013||Documentary||Tan Pin Pin||70 min|
|Watermarks: Three Letters from China||Switzerland||2013||Documentary||Luc Schaedler||80 min|
As with the previous edition of the festival, there will be a sidebar dedicated to the best of new Indian short films curated by filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni, and an additional selection of animation films from around the world curated by animation filmmaker Gitanjali Rao.
Indian short films include:
- Border Patrol by Peter Baumann
- Call it Slut by Nishtha Jain
- Ika by Raam Reddy
- Little Hands by Rohin Raveendran Nair
- Tamaash by Satyanshu Singh & Devanshu
- Three of Us by Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni.
Animation films include:
- Dreams and Desires - Family Ties by Joanna Quinn
- El Canto by Ines Sedan
- L'Homme Qui Dort by Ines Sedan
- La Femme Squelette by Sarah Van Den Boom
- La Gallina Ciega by Isabel Herguera
- Mani's Dying by Shilpa Ranade
- Naayo by Saheb Ram Tudu
- Naja Goes to School by Shilpa Ranade
- Printed Rainbow by Gitanjali Rao
- Tanko Bole Chhe by Nina Sabnani
- TrueLoveStory by Gitanjali Rao
- Goopi Gawaiya, Bagha Bajaiya by Shilpa Ranade (an excerpt of this feature animation film)