Dharamshala — Dharamshala International Film Festival 2015 (DIFF), to be held from November 5 to 8, will have 37 films from 18 countries this year which explore the skills involved in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.

DIFF 2015 held a press conference to announce lineup of the all sections, jury members, award recipients, and related special events at the meeting room near the ADC Office in Dharamshala, on October 26. Mr Shrawan Kumar Manta, Dharamshala SDM was attended the press meeting as chief guest.

The screenings will be held at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in the Himalayan town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala. The opening film will be 'Titli," by Kanu Behl who will introduce the film to the audience, along with actor Ranvir Shorey. The festival will close with Cannes Film Festival award winner, "Masaan", by Neeraj Ghaywan who will present the film along with screenwriter Varun Grover.

DIFF 2015 will build on the hallmarks that have given the festival its reputation as a cutting edge event – an intimate and carefully curated festival in the Himalayas showcasing an eclectic mix of the best of independent features, documentaries, shorts and animation films from India and around the world.

International filmmakers and participants this year include Maw Naing from Burma with his feature film, "The Monk." Acclaimed Japanese director Kaoru Ikeya is returning to DIFF for the International premiere of his documentary, "Lung Ta."

Director Dodo Hunziker from Switzerland will also attend the festival, along with Loten Namling, the protagonist of his film, "Tibetan Warrior."

Bhutanese director Dechen Roder will bring her short film, "Lo Sum Choe Sum", which will have its India premiere at the festival.

In collaboration with the Embassy of Switzerland in India, Anka Schmid will attend the festival for the Asian premiere of her documentary,"Wild Women – Gentle Beasts."

In collaboration with The Japan Foundation, it said DIFF will host director TetsuichiroTsuta for the Indian premiere of his feature film, "The Tale of Iya." Israeli director Talya Lavie will present her film, "Zero Motivation", with support from the Embassy of Israel in India.

Indian filmmakers attending the event include National Award-winning director, Gurvinder Singh, with his feature film "Chauthi Koot" (Cannes 2015). Bhaskar Hazarika will present the Assamese feature, "Kothanodi" (2015 Busan International Film Festival).

Abhay Kumar will attend with his documentary, Placebo (IDFA 2014). Indian director Prashant Nair will present his feature film, "Umrika" (Audience Award, 2015 Sundance Film Festival). Ruchika Oberoi will introduce her first feature, "Island City" (FEDEORA Award for Best Debut Director 2015 Venice Film Festival).

"A highlight this year are the documentaries premiering at DIFF, from Sundance award-winning film, The Wolfpack,which will see its Indian premiere at DIFF, to the Indian premiere of Yallah! Underground," state organisers.

Other movies to be screened include Joshua Oppenheimer's two award-winning documentaries, "The Act of Killing" and "The Look of Silence," Brian Knappenberger's documentary, "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz", and the Indian premiere of "Tashi and the Monk," a short, inspiring documentary and winner of the Indomitable Spirit Award at the Telluride Mountain film Festival.

In the features section, this year's event has a selection of films that touch upon subjects of deep humanistic concern. French director Boris Lojkine's film "Hope", and Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo's "Concrete Night" will be screened, along with Hu Wei's Oscar nominated short, "Butter Lamp." Vietnamese director Nguyen Hoang Diep's feature, "Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere", and Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska's film "Body will" also be shown at the festival.

Organisers said this festival will see the launch of its new programme, specifically tailored towards younger audiences, called "Reel Neverland." Film curator and Director of the South Asia Children's Cinema Forum, Monica Wahi, has selected a range of animated and live action children's films from around the globe: from the Russian short, About a Mother by Dina Velikovskayato Brazilian director Alê Abreu's feature film, "The Boy and The World." Also selected for the package is Olivier Ringer's "Birds of Passage", Astrid Bussink's "Giovanni and the Water Ballet", and official selection for TIFF Kids, Jury Feting's "Celestial Camel."

Organisers said that "the festival will also host a selection of short films from India, curated by Marathi filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni." This will include "Ahalyaby Sujoy Ghosh", "I Am Yet to See Delhi" by Humaira Bilkis, Khidkiby Sonia Saharan, G.C Ki Issi Tissiby Ashish Nehra, Ubeityby ImonRaza, and Kulkarni's own new short, "Makkhi." Producer and Actor Markus Reymann will also present the American short film, "One Night in Hollywood", directed by Sheri Sussman.

"This year, DIFF will host exciting panel discussions and sessions with filmmakers that will provide insights into independent filmmaking. The first panel discussion, The New Indian Indie wave will include filmmakers Ruchika Oberoi, KanuBehl, Gurvinder Singh, Abhay Kumar and Bhaskar Hazarika," organisers said in press release.

DIFF's second panel discussion, Film and the Female Gaze, will consist of four women filmmakers from four different countries: Anka Schmid (Switzerland), Dechen Roder (Bhutan), Talya Lavie (Israel), and Ruchika Oberoi (India). DIFF 2015 will also host a filmmaker session, Making Masaan, with director Neeraj Ghaywan and screenwriter and lyricist, Varun Grover.

With such a stellar lineup of award winning films and events, DIFF 2015 promises to be another unusual cinematic experience in the Dhauladhars. For more information.

"DIFF 2015 is also proud to host the second edition of the DIFF Film Fellows Programme, a mentorship programme for aspiring filmmakers in the Indian Himalayan region. This year saw an unprecedented number of applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds," the press statement said.

The Jury members, Anupama Srinivasan, Umesh Kulkarniand Tenzing Sonam have announced the winners –Tribeny Rai from Sikkim, Srishti Lakhera and Udit Nijhawan from Uttrakhand, and MajidImitiyaz and Karan Dhar from Jammu and Kashmir.

Each year thousands of people mostly young attend the film festival which is organising by Dharamshala based "White Crane Arts and Media Trust." Longtime residents of Dharamshala, filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam initiated the film festival along with their filmmakers from around the world to Dharamshala.

The initiation aims to "encourage local filmmaking talent and create a meaningful platform to engage all communities" that inhabit the area – Indians, Tibetan refugees, and expatriates – in order to "promote mutual understanding, foster harmony, and offer exposure to contemporary forms of creative expression."

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