6 short films you can't miss at the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2016
It's a good time to head to the mountains. Great weather, of course, but also the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) should push McLeodganj up your list of winter weekend getaways.
The festival, a brainchild of festival directors Ritu Sarin & Tenzing Sonam, has been around since 2012 and has presented an eclectic platter of movies for cinephiles every year.
The long and short of DIFF
Arguably one of the best things about DIFF is the fact that they give space to a wide range of cinema, not just in terms of genre, but also format. The short film format, which doesn't always get the space it deserves at film festivals, has always found a platform here. And at the helm of things in this department has been Umesh Kulkarni.
Kulkarni, a National award winning filmmaker, has always been closely associated with the shorter format, as much as he has successfully explored the longer feature. Hence, the responsibility to curate the short films at DIFF, is usually taken on by him. This year too, Kulkarni looks set to present an interesting range of shorts for film buffs.
Asked about how he's seen DIFF evolve vis-a-vis the short films section and what's different this year, Kulkarni says, "I've been coming from the first year and I've noticed it's always had a diverse and interesting mix of audience. For this year, I've decided to focus more on Indian short films over international ones. Because in India there are a lot of young filmmakers doing great shorts, travelling abroad as well with their work but we don't get to see much of their films here."
Short films and big stars
Given how a lot of stars (think Radhika Apte, Naseeruddin Shah, Manoj Bajpai) are featured these days in the shorter format -- does that make the whole thing a bit self-defeating? Shorts are usually explored more by younger filmmakers looking to cut it into the film industry or using it as a testing ground for a bigger feature. They aren't exactly in a position to rope in stars. Isn't that a problem? Kulkarni chooses to look on the brighter side of things.
"When stars act in short films, more people will see them and at least the format will get more recognition. The fact is a lot of people aren't aware of the format. If you ask them about short films, they'll think documentaries. With famous personalities getting featured... I think it's a good way to introduce to this kind of cinema as well."
Meanwhile, here are six short films that you shouldn't miss at this year's DIFF:
Infiltrator (Ghuspaithiya) | Dir: Gurvinder Singh
Short Narrative | India, Turkey | 2016 | 15 mins
After the success of Chauthi Koot (The Fourth Direction), Gurvinder Singh is ready to present a 15 minute short. Called Ghuspaithia (The Infiltrator), it's a take on a pigeon that's taken into custody somewhere near an Indo-Pak border village.
The film is part of an international omnibus of 10 films called, 'In the Same Garden'. A Turkish production house is backing the project that involves eight other directors. The project got a premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival in August earlier.