Filmmaker Ritu Sarin, who launched Dharamshala International Film Festival with husband Tenzing Sonam in 2012, is confident that the movie gala will help promote the culture of good cinema in the mountains.
Ritu, a longtime Dharamshala resident herself, said she always wanted to bring good independent films from around the world to her town and give its people an opportunity to watch them.
“These festivals are really important to encourage the independent cinema and local filmmaking, especially for a place like Dharamshala, where you don’t used to have theatres,” Ritu told PTI.
The four day festival, which will begin on November 3, will have screenings of more than 40 films from countries like Hungary, UK, Switzerland, USA, Thailand, France, Poland and South Korea.
“This year we have screenings of around 43 films across 23 countries. ‘Visaranai’ is also one of them, which is selected as India’s official entry for the best foreign language at 2017 Oscars.”
The festival will be a part of an interactive session between actor Naseeruddin Shah and film critic Rajeev Masand.
When asked if such big faces are important to promote the event, which is happening in a small town, Ritu said, “They will only be here to talk about Naseer’s movie ‘Interior Cafe Night”, which has its screening on the last day of the festival.
“And I don’t think it’s about big faces, as long as we have good movies and artistes to present, we don’t have to worry.”
The festival will have the screenings of documentaries and short films by directors like Anurag Kashyap and Adhiraj Bose. Also, film critic Aseem Chhabra will engage filmmaker Saeed Mirza in a conversation about his cinematic journey, travels and transformation as a writer.
With all positivity and no competitive feelings, Ritu wants to take the fifth edition of the festival, where it has never been before.
“I don’t want to be competitive. I just want to promote independent cinema through this festival. I know there is IFFI that is going to start in a very short time and MAMI has just got over but I think every festival has its own authenticity.
“I want DIFF to be a film festival of mountains that mainly encourages people towards filmmaking and fulfills the curiosity of every cinema lover.”
Films like “Thithi”, “Royal Cafe”, “Water and Ice”, “The Last Dalai Lama?” and “That Day After Everyday” are the other highlights of the festival.