The DIFF Film Fellows Programme is an initiative to encourage filmmaking talent in the Himalayan regions of India. This year, five up-and-coming filmmakers will attend DIFF and attend mentoring sessions with established filmmakers Anupama Srinivasan and Umesh Kulkarni. DIFF aims to provide valuable opportunities for the participants to broaden their understanding of film.
Applications for the DIFF Film Fellows Programme 2017 will open in September.
THE FELLOWS 2016
Born in Imphal, Manipur, Tournangbam Andy began shooting experimental shorts this year. The first, We, was screened at Manipur’s Festival of Cinema and Kharam Loya Film Festival. The second, Kangrdroom, was listed among the top 15 shorts at Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival.
Vishal Langthasa was born in Haflong, a hill station in Assam where, as a child, he would ‘borrow’ his brother’s handycam and shoot footage around the neighborhood. Vishal holds an MA in media and cultural studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and this year started up his own YouTube channel, Chugli TV.
Bendang Walling has been involved in the performing arts since his school days in Nagaland. After graduating from the National School of Drama, New Delhi, in 2012, he returned to his home state and founded Hill Theatre, for which he has directed eight productions. Having this year completed his debut short film, Blissful, Bengdang now dreams of exploring the hills of Nagaland to unearth its rich treasures of myth and folklore.
Abhijeet Phartiyal was born and raised in Almora, Uttarakhand, and studied English Literature at the University of Delhi. He recently completed his first short film. His influences include Jean-Luc Godard, Chantal Akerman, Gurvinder Singh and Pushpa Rawat.
Mehak Jamal grew up in Srinagar before studying for her BA in film at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore. Currently based in Mumbai, she is working on a freelance project with Srishti Films, commissioned by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
As anyone who’s spent time in Dharamshala knows, the town crams a massively diverse population into a pretty small municipality—Gaddi villagers, Tibetan refugees, Paharis, Kashmiris, Nepalis, Punjabis, migrant workers, ex-pats—occupied in government jobs, education, labour, tourism, homemaking, NGOs, the arts, or simply enjoying retirement. The prospect of engaging with such a range of people can be overwhelming but this year we have dipped our toes a little deeper into the pool with a range of community outreach projects.
October saw two screenings of Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s documentary about a local Gaddi taxi driver, When Hari Got Married (2012)—the first for Gaddi villagers from Dharamkot, Heini and Raked, the second for 200 inmates at the district jail in lower Dharamshala. Each screening was followed by a Q&A session with the film’s protagonist, Haridesh.
This year, DIFF arranged a special screening of the short live-action film Dost, directed by Piyush Kanga from Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. The invited audience included students from Harmony Through Education—a thriving school for children and young adults with special educational needs—together with students from local mainstream schools.
Film Appreciation Competition
20 students from four very different institutions participated in this event, during which they were introduced to the concept of active and critical engagement with cinema. The competition included a screening of Varun Tandon’s short Syaahi (2016) and a workshop with film writer Aseem Chhabra. The contestants were drawn from Tong-Len hostel for the children of migrant workers, Gamru Village School for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, Wood Whistlers International School, and Upper TCV.
Schools and Colleges
DIFF is proud to have invited students from a range of local schools to this year’s children’s programme. We will also welcome students from several local colleges to a screening of Pushpa Rawat’s significant new documentary Mod.