Arts & Culture

Everything You Need To Know About The Dharmsala International Film Festival

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As Mcleodganj gets ready for the Dharmsala International Film Festival (DIFF) from 2nd to 5th of November, we bring to you an itinerary to a week full of independent films.

What is DIFF?

An annual film festival which started in 2012 when two denizens, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam decided to bring alternative cinema to their locality, one which didn’t even have a cinema hall back then. Today, DIFF has become a leading platform for independent film makers globally, bringing together cinema lovers from all parts.

The Venue
Mcleodganj, situated in the heart of Himalayas, is a perennial attraction to tourists. This gets even better when quality movie experience fuses with the glory of mountains in the background. The festival venue, Tibetan Children’s Village School, is a short walk from the city centre. You can also take a cab or wait for an every 15 minute bus.

How to reach Mcleodganj?
Buses of all sorts regularly run from Kashmiri Gate ISBT or Majnu-ka-Tilla to Mcleodganj. The nearest Railway Station is Pathankot which is 2 hours cab drive from the venue. You can even take a flight to Kangra. The Kangra airport is 15 kilometres away from the venue.

Where to stay?
The Mcleodganj City Centre is surrounded with hotels and boarding places of all budgets. If everything is occupied by the time you reach, fret not! Just walk down one of the roads leading downwards the city centre and you would reach an entire locality of hotels. Trick to identify: You would have to step down a considerable number of stairs to reach there.

Where to eat?
Mcleodganj is full of cafes. Try various Maggi Points, Coffee Shops, Momos Points and all other sorts of food joints. There is even a Pizza Hut and a proper Restaurant in the city centre if that is what suits you.

What all films to watch at the event?
Feature narratives like Mukti Bhawan by Subhashish Bhutiani, Newton by Amit Masurkar and What will people say by Iram Haq will be screened. Also, Documentaries like Cameraperson by Kirsten Johnson and Memories of Machine by Shailaja Pradindala and Children films like Heidi by Alain Gsponer, The Day My Father Became A Bush by Nicole van Kilsdonk and Tokri by Suresh Eriyat will also be screened. Nevertheless, the best part would quite certainly be the Q&A session with the directors and the actors where you would be able to further relish the movie.

What else to do in Mcleordganj?
You can visit the St. John’s Church, The Dal Lake and the Bhagsunag Temple and Waterfall. (Expert Advice: Don’t miss a brunch at the Shiva Café if you trek all the way to the Bhagsunag Waterfall). The trek to Triund and further the Snow Line, though tiring, is worth everything. You can even stay for the night at one of the rental tents at Triund.

See you at DIFF!

Feature Image  credits: 
DIFF official website

Image Credits: Nikhil Kumar for DU Beat

Nikhil Kumar
[email protected]

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