The Himalayas will play host to an international film festival this winter

Capturing the non-violent protest of West Bank village Bil’in against the encroaching Israeli settlements, Five Broken Cameras directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi will be screened in India for the first time at the Dharamshala International Film Festival. Come November, and the magnificent Dhauladhar ranges in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh will play host to the international film festival showcasing more than 20 feature films, shorts and documentaries, curated from contemporary independent cinema.

Conceptualised by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the festival is intended to be an annual event and so the first edition has not been restricted by any theme or subject and encompasses a wide range of films, says Ritu Sarin, festival co-director.

Egyptian-Danish filmmakers Karim el-Hakim and Omar Shargawi capture 11 days of the 18-day revolution that swept Egypt in ½Revolution and relay devastating images from the uprising through handheld cameras. My Reincarnation by American filmmaker Jennifer Fox and Oka!, Lavinia Currier’s ethnomusic drama set in the Central African Republic are the other films to look out for.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, Asif Kapadia’s Senna, Rajan Khosa’s Gattu, and Umesh Kulkarni’s Deool alongside the world premiere of When Hari Got Married, a real time feature film directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are the other films to be showcased. Shot in Dharamshala, the film is the story of Hari, a taxi driver, who is having an arranged marriage with a girl that he has never met, but nevertheless has fallen in love with her on the mobile phone. The film revolves around the days before the wedding and how Hari deals with mounting tension as the day of marriage comes closer.

“As India rapidly modernises, dramatic changes are taking place even in his faraway village. But gods, oracles, and age-old traditions still play an important role in everyday life and come together to ensure an auspicious wedding,” say the film makers about the film.

Filmamakers from India and abroad will be there to present their films and participate in a number of master classes, panel discussions and expert workshops.

“Our home for 16 years, Dharamshala is an interesting place where different cultures mix together, from the local Gaddis, Tibetan refugees, foreign expatriates to travellers from around the world. Apart from being an opportunity for the local and visiting audiences to view nice films, we just want everybody to come and enjoy,” she adds.

Presented through the trust, White Crane Arts & Media, the festival will be preceded by an international artists’ workshop in collaboration with Delhi-based Khoj International Artists’ Association.

“We have invited 15 artists, five from India, five international and five from Tibet. They will stay together, interact and ideate for 12 days to produce works of arts that will be displayed during the festival,” says Tenzing Sonam.