Dharamshala — The Dharamshala International Film Festival returned for it's fifth year featuring over forty independent films, located this year at Tibetan Children's Village above Mcleod Ganj and beginning the evening of November 4th. The opening ceremony saw a packed house to witness the opening film.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was supposed to attend the opening, but was apparently forced to leave for Delhi due to bad health. In his place, the opening ceremony of the four-day long film festival was attended by Himachal Pradesh Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma, among other Indian and Tibetan dignitaries.
Curators of the festival, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam opened the ceremony by welcoming distinguished guests and friends, calling the festival a "labor of love," and noting that since the festival awards no honors nor takes submissions it is purely about celebrating film, especially significant for Dharamshala, where for many years there was no cinema.
"I welcome you all on behalf of the Chief Minister, who was scheduled to be here, but had to change his schedule at last minute for a meeting in Delhi," said Minister Sharma who came instead.
"Slowly and steadily this film festival is growing every year. I want to assure the organisers that the government of Himachal Pradesh is ready to help them in every way possible for this festival," he added.
Filmmaker Raam Reddy's award-winning Kannada film Thithi was the opening film of the festival, which explores the reactions of three generations of sons to the death of the oldest in their clan, their 101-year old patriarch.
DIFF 2016 will feature 43 films in total from 21 countries including Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany, Bhutan among others, which includes 27 feature films, 15 shorts, four children's films in addition to four video installations, one masterclass, two conversations, two panel discussions, and community outreach events.
The festival culminates on November 8th for the final film, National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran's critically acclaimed Tamil drama Visaranai (Interrogation), which is India's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the upcoming 89th Academy Awards.