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Srishti Jha, Hindustan Times
Dharamsala, November 01, 2012
The Dharamshala International Film Festival, the first of its kind in the state, began with a lot of excitement and expectation.

The first day of the fest saw artists' workshop where 12 artists from India and abroad intermingled in an art and cultural interface addressing the issues of identity, culture and politics while promoting inter-cultural exchange.

As filmmakers based in Dharamsala, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam launched the first edition of the DIFF from November 1 to 4 to bring meaningful cinema to the mountains and promote and promote local film-making talents. The duo have always believed that the town's diverse contour would make it an ideal spot for an international film festival.

Sarin says, "Our aim was to create a contemporary cultural event in Dharamsala which would introduce local communities to world cinema and involve their participation. Apart from sharing our love for cinema, we aim at filling the gap which small towns face culturally in terms of cinema and arts."

With filmmaker Hansel Mehta's Shahid being the opening film, the festival witnessed a blend of local audiences as well as film enthusiasts across India and abroad.

Other films to be shown include Jennifer Fox's My Reincarnation, Mark Elliot's Yangsi, Rajan Khosa's Gattu, Dain Said's Bunohan and Umesh Kulkarni's Deool among others.

Ashim Ahluwalia's award-winning film Miss Lovely will be the closing film.

The festival will screen 26 films, mostly documentaries, at three venues - Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, the Club House and TCV Day School.

"Film makers Hansal Mehta, Jennifer Fox, Asif Kapadia Ashim Ahluwalia, Umesh Kulkarni, Jennifer Fox, Mark Elliot, Dian Said and Guy Davidi will mark their presence at the event," says Sonam.