A Bit like Coming Home


  • August 15, 2014


A Bit like Coming Home

One morning while in high school in India, Katja woke up on a bus and found herself in Dharamshala. “It was a little bit like coming home, even though I had never been here before.”

The daughter of a cheese-maker, Katja Flükiger grew up in the Swiss Alps and discovered that the world was larger than her 60 square-metre village and its four hundred inhabitants in her teens. After studying at the United World College in India, she chose a liberal arts college in the US where she is pursuing a degree in Animation, while soaking up all that she can about film, graphic design and the world. This internship is a combination of her passion for film and her love for Dharamshala and jalebis!  “I am incredibly excited at the prospect of spending three months working with amazing people for something I believe in and learning about all the aspects of film making that school cannot teach me.”

The three DIFF interns have been on incredible journeys in life that have brought them closer to film and through it to Dharamshala. Each one of them enriches the festival with their remarkably unique perspective, and infuses the proceedings at the DIFF office with incredible enthusiasm and energy.

Take the case of Tenzin Phuljung. At the age of six, he left his family in Tibet and travelled across the Himalayas to Dharamshala. He joined the school at the Tibetan Children’s Village which he left in 2004 when he was recognized as a reincarnate in a lineage of high Lamas. When he gave up his robes two years ago, Tenzin found himself alone and penniless. A notice for the Tibet Film Festival in Zurich and Dharamshala inspired him to follow his passion for film – he submitted his first short film, Can You Hear Me? and placed second. “I had realized the power of film, the breadth and enormity of its audience and the impact for change in its message,” says Tenzin, now working on his third short film. About volunteering at DIFF last year, Tenzin says, “I was happy to see people from four corners of the world talking about film at the same table while sipping tea and wine, eating and making new friends. I truly felt that there is a secret behind the Festival – the secret is falling in love with each other!” Tenzin hopes to find a scholarship to pursue his love for film at college some day.

When Vitor Carvalho left his home in Portugal to go to high school in India, he took his first film class and the world opened up before him. “When the time came for me to make my first film at the end of high school, I cannot say I really knew what I was doing, but it was the most fun I ever had at doing work for school, and it made me want to keep on doing it.” He went on to study Film at Bard College, New York, where he was exposed to a world of ideas, from guerilla television to experimental video image processing – “this infinite world of filmmaking I was not aware of”. Watching beautiful prints in an introductory class on 16mm film with one of his favourite filmmakers, Peter Hutton, Vitor decided to work with 16mm, investing the extra care the medium demands. Recently, while working as Director of Photography on a friend’s feature film in Uruguay, Vitor ended up also being everything else from gaffer to boom operator to sound supervisor. He looks forward to adapting to new situations and donning many roles as an intern at DIFF 2014.

DIFF offers interns a unique opportunity to get hands-on experience of working with an international event. Being a part of a small and democratic team means that young people working with the festival get to have their opinions heard, while being involved with the festival in every department. For those who love cinema, this is the chance of a lifetime – to work closely in helping organise a successful and inspiring film festival.

To see some of our interns’ work, click on the links below:




Can Anyone Hear Mehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgXnRNFX1o8
The Pondhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeLC0kt8jes