With entries for the first Ladakh International Film Festival pouring in from all over the world, the number of people expected to visit the region this June seems to be growing by the minute. And in a bid to control the increasing carbon footprint, the organisers are urging entrants to leave their vehicles and take the green route, quite literally.
“We are donating bicycles to the government. In the same way that you hire bikes in Goa, in Ladakh you’ll be able to hire cycles as most of the screenings are going to be outdoors and people will need to move,” says Melwyn Williams Chirayath, director of the fest that starts on June 15 and goes on till June 17.
The final date for the entries for the festival is April 1. Apart from international, Indian and competition segments, the highlight of the fest will be the Ladakh section that will include movies made by the local film industry.
Filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who is the chairman of the three-day fest, says, “It’s being looked forward to by the local community in Leh, since there is a fledgling film industry there. We hope to encourage them and bring the world to them.”
According to him, popular fests like the ones at Berlin, Cannes and Venice also began as efforts to increase tourism in those regions. Hoping that this event will have a similar effect on India, Benegal adds, “We also need to create other ‘destinations’. We should highlight Manipur, Nagaland and the rest of the North East. Those are wonderful areas and many make films there. We just don’t get to see or hear about them.