DIFF 2013The film festival bringing independent cinema to the mountains is back! From 24th to 27th October 2013, the hills of Dharamshala will come alive with the sights and sounds of approximately 30 films – fiction, documentaries, shorts and experimental – carefully selected from the best of contemporary world cinema by noted filmmakers and DIFF directors, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam.

In the second edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival 2013 (DIFF) several India premieres are on the programme list. These include: Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s provocative Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer; Polish filmmaker Jacek Borcuch’s Sundance award-winning feature, Lasting; Australian director Kate Shortland’s moving post-World War II drama, Lore; British artist Shezad Dawood’s debut sci-fi feature, Piercing Brightness; and Japanese cult director Takanori Tsujimoto’s martial arts extravaganze, Bushido Man.

This year, the festival also has a special focus on Indian documentaries with strong social concerns with the screening of the movies like Nishtha Jain’s Gulabi Gang, Amit Virmani’s Menstrual Man, and Anand Patwardhan’s Jai Bhim Comrade.

A number of films having young protagonists at their centre, children or teenagers struggling to overcome a range of personal setbacks and dilemmas will also be screened. Among these are Kim Mordaunt’s coming-of-age drama set in Laos, The Rocket; Dominga Sotomayor’s Chilean road movie, Thursday Till Sunday; and the above-mentioned Lore.

The festival will also have strong representation from the new Indian indie wave with the showcase of Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s Fandry, and Q’s Tasher Desh.

Other notable films screening at the festival are Kleber Mendonça Filho’s remarkable first film and the official Brazilian entry to the Oscars, Neighbouring Sounds; Ramon Zürcher’s droll and off-beat The Strange Little Cat; Alison Klayman’s revealing portrait of China’s most famous dissident artist, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry; Avijit Mukul Kishore’s chronicle of the birth of contemporary Indian art, To Let the World In; Joshua Oppenheimer’s much-laudedaward-winning documentary, The Act of Killing; and Prasanna Vithanage’s touching Sri Lankan drama, With You, Without You.

An unusual and exciting sidebar, curated in collaboration with Vienna-based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation, will present a series of films made by leading international artists, rarely seen outside the gallery space.

Another sidebar will showcase the best of recent short films from India, curated by noted Indian filmmaker Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni. “Short films are my first love. I realize that short films are not as acknowledged in India as it is done in the international market. I like the idea of a film festival, where you get to screen your film, interact with the audience and with fellow filmmaker, where you also grow as a film maker. My last experience at DIFF was really inspiring, so I thought to do something for the festival and curated the short films for its second edition,” said the filmmaker.

A number of acclaimed Indian and international filmmakers and industry professionals will be present at the film festival to interact with the audience through Q&A sessions, panel discussions and filmmaking master classes to provide inspiration to budding local filmmakers and nurture fresh talent. They include –

Jacek Borcuch, award-winning Polish actor, director and screenwriter;

Prasanna Vithanage, one of Sri Lanka’s most notable filmmakers whose films have won many awards, both local and international.

Anand Patwardhan, one of India’s leading documentary filmmakers known for tackling divisive issues at the core of social and political life in India.

Nishtha Jain, director and producer whose films have received several international awards and been extensively screened at international film festivals.

Ramon Zürcher, German writer/director, described as a bold new talent whose enchanting first feature, A Strange Little Cat, has been critically acclaimed.

Sylvia Wilczynski, producer of The Rocket and several other award-winning fiction and documentary films.

Alison Klayman, director, producer and cinematographer whose debut documentary feature, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, was awarded a Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Avijit Mukul Kishore, Mumbai-based filmmaker and cinematographer, specialising in documentary film and collaborations with visual artists on video and film-based installations.

Amit Virmani, Singapore-based documentary filmmaker of Indian origin whose debut, Cowboys in Paradise, was one of the most talked about Asian documentaries in recent years.

Q, director of the Bengali fantasy film, Tasher Desh (The Land of Cards), praised by international critics for its vivid experimental cinematography and unusual style.

Francesca von Habsburg, a leading figure in the art world who regularly participates in the major biennales by commissioning new works of contemporary art through her foundation, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, which she founded in 2002 in Vienna, Austria.

For further information on DIFF and registrations, please log on to www.diff.co.in

Registration will open from the last week of September via www.diff.co.in and www.explara.com