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DIFF-International-Film-Festival-2014Dharamshala, September 11: In addition to award-winning feature films, documentaries and Indian shorts, the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2014 will screen a selection of animation films from India and around the world, curated by India's best known animation filmmaker, Gitanjali Rao. Ms. Rao will also host an animation workshop.

'This year's animation films share a strong woman-centric theme, with a focus on issues of gender, equality and the struggle to overcome adversity,' organisers said in a statement.

In Ines Sedan's El Canto (The Song) a woman is forced into silence by her husband, but finds her voice in music. DIFF will also screen Ines Sedan's L'Homme Qui Dort (The Man Who Slept), in which the protagonist struggles to come to terms with the fact that her sleeping husband may never wake up. Sarah Van Den Boom's La Femme Squelette (The Skeleton Woman) is about a woman who mourns her lost love and dreams of a better life, while the skeleton woman hidden within her waits to be freed.

Naayo is Saheb Tudu's tribute to women of the Santhal tribe – an experimental documentary and ethnographic film. Based on a poem, the film tells the story of the quiet strength of the tribe's women who work in the sun and the rain and look after their families.

DIFF will showcase three of Shilpa Ranade's films, all quintessentially Indian stories. The thread of gender politics continues in her film, Naja Goes to School, in which a little girl from the 'untouchable caste' excels at school but is made to stay at home because she is a girl. Her film, Mani's Dying, is about coming to terms with suffering and dying while Goopi Gawaiya, Bagha Bajaiya follows two blundering musicians (based on characters created by Satyajit Ray's grandfather) as they meet ghosts, avert wars and marry princesses to help the world live happily ever after.

The animation selection, rich in local flavor and tradition, includes Nina Sabnani's Tanko Bole Chhe, an animated documentary which celebrates the art and passion of the Kutch artisans associated with Kala Raksha. Using embroideries and appliqué, the artists respond to life events as varied as the earthquake and flying a kite, thus tracing the evolution of their craft tradition in film.

DIFF will also screen Isabel Herguera's award-winning short animation La Gallina Ciega, about a blind man who loses his guide dog – a story about finding strength in vulnerability

Gitanjali Rao, the curator of the DIFF animation package and one of India's best known animation filmmakers will screen her latest film, True Love Story. In a country struggling with poverty, homelessness and a lack of basic rights, Bollywood offers an escape from reality. This film is the love story of 17-year-old Salim, for whom the line between Bollywood fantasy and reality is a fine one, if it exists at all. She will also screen her much-loved 2006 debut film, Printed Rainbow, which won the Young Critics Award in the Critics Week section at Cannes in 2006.

This series promises to bring the magic of animation to the DIFF audiences, exposing lovers of film to a genre that has endless possibilities.

The 3rd edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival will take place in McLeodganj between October 30 and November 2. Longtime residents of Dharamshala, Indian-Tibetan filmmaking couple Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, initiated the film festival with the aim to bring high quality independent cinema to Dharamshala, encourage local filmmaking talent and create a meaningful platform for engage all the communities in the area. For more information, log on to www.diff.co.in

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