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The presence of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala has made it a popular destination for tourists from around the world. But now, the hill station will be part of the tourist circuit for another reason — a first-of-its-kind international film festival, which starts on November 1.
Conceptualised by Dharamshala-based filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the four-day Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) will be held in McLeodganj with an aim to "bring out the best of contemporary cinema" and 25 independent films from across the globe will be showcased.
Sarin said, "After making films for 25 years, we have understood the role of films in creating ideas and inspiring the youth. We wanted to do something for the community living here."
Despite being in its first edition, the organisers have managed to bring some critically acclaimed films to premiere in India, including 1/2 Revolution, Bunohan, Five Broken Cameras and My Reincarnation. 1/2 Revolution is an intimate story based on the Arab Spring, revolving around a group of friends residing at Cairo who struggle to remain together during the first 11 days of the Egyptian Revolution. Five Broken Cameras is a first-hand account by a Palestinian farmer in his effort to put up a non-violent opposition to the actions of the Israeli army.
Director Hansal Mehta's Shahid, based on the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, will open the festival.
Filmmakers from India and abroad, including Jennifer Fox, Asif Kapadia, Deepti Naval, Karim El Hakim and Guy Davidi will showcase their films. Besides, there will be panel discussions and expert workshops.