'Thithi' to open Dharmashala fest; to screen 45 features and shorts

NEW DELHI: A total of 45 features and shorts are to screened at the fifth Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) to be held from 3 to 6 November.

The Festival to be held at the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamshala, will have 27 Features and 18 shorts, apart from four video installations.

Presented in collaboration with long-term partners Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, the festival is also supported by theHimachal Pradesh government and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). It is curated by festival directors Ritu Sarin andTenzing Sonam, along with associate director Raman Chawla, filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni (short films programme) and children’s media specialist Monica Wahi (children’s films programme).

Raam Reddy’s critically acclaimed Thithi will be the opening night film while India’s Oscar entry Vetri Raman’s compelling Tamil drama Interrogation will close the festival.

This year’s programme includes feature films, shorts, children’s films, video installations, masterclasses, workshops and community outreach events—offering a selection of the best in contemporary independent cinema.

DIFF will showcase unconventional, adventurous works that couple cinematic experimentation with pressing political and social concerns.

This year’s festival also has a strong contingent of regional Indian and Asian films. Fifteen filmmakers from across India and the world will present their work at DIFF 2015.Most of the films have been screened at prestigious international festivals and several are making their Indian premieres.

Veteran filmmaker Saeed Akhtar Mirza will also be attending and participating in a conversation with Programmer Curator and Author Aseem Chhabra.

Some of the foreign filmmakers coming include Pimpaka Towira (The Island Funeral), Boo Junfeng (Apprentice), Chow Kwun-Wai (Ten Years), Jeon Soo-il (A Korean in Paris), Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Sonita), Sean McAllister (Syrian Love Story), Nguyễn Trinh Thi (Vietnam The Movie), and Tenzin Dasel and Rémi Caritey (Royal Café).

Indian filmmakers participating are Rajiv Ravi (Kammatipaadam), Umesh Kulkarni (Highway), Raam Reddy (Thithi), Sanjeev Kumar (Circles of the Mind) (Man de Phere), Pushpa Rawat (The Turn) (Mordh), and Bauddhayan Mukherji (The Violin Player).

Anna Vilgelmi, producer and associate director of The Wounded Angel, will also be attending.

Others expected are the lead actor of Lathe Joshi, Chitranjan Giri, as well as Girish Kulkarni (TBC) who is acting in Highway.

Special local interest this year comes in the form of a Spotlight onKangra Valley which features Dharamshala director Sanjeev Kumar’s feature Man de Phere (Gaddi language); Prabhijit Dhamijia’s short Asmad and Steffi Giaracuni’s documentary about a legendary Himachal architect, Didi Contractor: Marrying the Earth to the Building.

A selection of single-channel video installations from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary’s private collection: Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme’s Collapse and The Incidental Insurgents (Parts 1 and 2), and Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s Some Questions on the Nature of Your Existence will also be presented.

Ritu and Tenzing told “As we celebrate our fifth edition, we hope to build on the hallmarks that have made DIFF such a special event. After reviewing hundreds of films over many months, we have put together a slate of films that embody the spirit of independent cinema, that demonstrate strong directorial vision and a willingness to take risks, and that tell stories that are relevant in today’s world.”

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