Features & Opinion

1st Dharamshala International Film Festival from 1st November

By NewsDesk • Published on September 22, 2012

The maiden edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival will be held from 1st – 4th November.The film festival is an initiative of the Dharanshala based filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam.

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam run an independent film company and produce films mainly focusing on the subject of Tibet. Some of their films include, The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom, The Thread of Karma, Dreaming Lhasa and Big Treasure Chest for Future Kids.

12 films to be screened at the festival are announced so far, more will be coming soon. Those lined-up are:

Miss Lovely

India. Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia. Two brothers, Vicky and Sonu Duggal, produce forbidden sex-horror films for India’s small-town picture houses in mid-1980s Bombay. Vicky is struggling to run the tabooed operation, while Sonu desires to produce a romantic film which he would call ‘Miss Lovely’.

The film competed for the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.


5 Broken Cameras

Israel. Directed by Emat Burnat and Guy Davidi. Palestinian farm labourer Emad has five video cameras, and each of them tells a different part of the story of his village’s resistance to Israeli oppression. Emad lives in Bil’in, just west of the city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Using the first camera, he recorded how bulldozers came to rip the olive trees out of the ground in 2005.

5 Broken Cameras won the Sundance 2012 World Documentary Directing Award and Van Leer Group Foundation Award for Best Israeli Documentary in 2012.


Nostalgia For The Light

USA. Directed by Patricio Guzman. Filmed in the remote, pristine Atacama desert, the documentary follows the disparate groups of people each searching for profound answers in the arid landscape. While astronomers observe the stars and search for the origins of the universe, archeologists sift through the desert soil to look for remnants of human civilizations. Meanwhile, decades on, wives and sisters continue their daunting search for the remains of their loved ones “disappeared” by the Chilean army after the 1973 coup. Addressing the lasting impacts of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, Patricio Guzman juxtaposes and neatly weaves together these celestial and human explorations, creating a deeply moving and personal odyssey.

The film has won numerous accolades including, the European Film Award for Best Documentary in 2010, the International Documentary Association Award in 2011 for Feature Documentary and the Jury Award for Best Documentary at Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival 2011.



Germany. Directed by Wim Wenders. Pina is a feature length tribute to the late German choreographer Pina Bausch, as her contemporaries present extracts from the most noted dance pieces. The performances are supplemented with interviews by the members of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.

The film was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature category at the Academy Awards in 2012 and for the BAFTA Film Award for the Best Film Not in the English Language in 2012. It won the Best Documentary Award at the European Film Awards in 2011.



South Korea. Directed by Hong Sang-soo. Filmmaker Jo Munkyung plans to leave Seoul to live in Canada. So days before his departure, he meets his close friend Bang Jungshik, who is a film critic. After a few rounds, they find out coincidentally, they have both been to the same small seaside town Tong-yung recently. They decide to reveal their accounts of the trip over drinks, under the condition that they only stick to pleasant memories. Not realizing that they were in the same place, at the same time, and with the same people, the two men’s reminiscence of a hot summer unfolds like a catalogue of memories.

The film won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.


½ Revolution

Denmark. Directed by Karim El Hakim and Omar Shargawi. ½ Revolution is a personal, intimate story from the Arab Spring: a group of friends living in downtown Cairo struggle to stay together during the first chaotic days of the Egyptian Revolution. As waves of protests escalate in their neighborhood next to Tahrir Square, the director duo take to the streets to capture the historical events unfolding around them. But as the violence and uncertainty builds, Karim and his young family’s apartment becomes an epicenter of activity as worried friends and neighbors flock together in a bid to survive the counter punches thrown by police and the armed gangs of pro-Mubarak thugs swarming the streets under their balcony.

Among others the film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival 2012.



Japan. Directed by Asif Kapadia. Senna is a biographical documentary on the Brazilian Formula One racing driver Aryton Senna. Senna had won the F1 World Championship thrice before dying at the age of 34.

The film won two BAFTA Film Awards in 2012 for Best Documentary Film and Best Editing.


My Reincarnation

USA. Directed by Jennifer Fox. The film follows Namkhai Norbu’s rise to greatness as a Buddhist teacher in the West, while his son, Yeshi, recognized at birth as the reincarnation of a famous spiritual master, breaks away from his father’s tradition to embrace the modern world.



USA. Directed by Lavinia Currier. Oka! is based on Louis Sarno’s memoir, ‘Last Thoughts Before Vanishing from the Face of the Earth.’ Twenty five years ago, ethno-musicologist Louis Sarno travelled from New Jersey to the forests of Central Africa to record the music of the Bayaka Pygmies. Falling in love with a Bayaka girl and her forest lifestyle, he decided to stay. Oka! tells the adventure of his life in Africa with his adopted family.



India. Directed by Umesh Kulkarni. The Marathi film is about the effect of globalization on India’s small towns and the terrible state of Indian villages, with a political back-drop.

The film won the Golden Lotus Award for the Best Feature Film and the Silver Lotus Award for the Best Actor and Best Screenplay in 2012.



India. Directed by Rajan Khosa. Gattu a young boy works in his uncle’s garbage recycling business. Passionate about flying kites, the children in the village all dream of defeating Kali, a kite of mysterious origins that appears in the blue skies above them.

The film was honoured with a special mention in the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk category at the Berlin International Film Festival 2012.


When Hari Got Married

UK/India/USA. Directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam. When Hari, a small-town taxi driver, has an arranged marriage to a girl he has never met, the result is an intimate and humorous look at the changes taking place in India as modernity and globalization meet age-old traditions and customs.


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