The festival, which draws films from across the world, will screen 27 movies including three directed by Tibetan filmmakers.
"Foremost known as the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the red-roofed IPL cricket stadium, DIFF is now part and parcel of Dharamshala," said Sikyong Lobsang Sagay at the inaugural day which was attended by local dignitaries, filmmakers, and film buffs from Dharamshala and beyond.
Speaking to IANS, festival director, Ritu Sarin, said: "This year, we have films with strong focus on the Middle East, Tibet and China. We also have a strong contingent of first feature films, both from India and abroad.
"Apart from movie screening, it is also a platform to promote and encourage local film-making talent by organising special screenings, master classes and workshops. We also encourage film lovers and visitors from India and abroad to visit Dharamshala by establishing a world-class film festival and promoting it as a destination for cultural tourism."
The Dharamshala International Film Festival is a non-profit undertaking presented by White Crane Arts and Media Trust. It was founded by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam to promote contemporary art, cinema and independent media practices in the Himalayan region.