Dharamsala gears up for film fest

Dharamsala, Oct 20 (IANS) The three-day Free Spirit Film Festival will be held in this Himachal Pradesh hill station beginning Monday, organisers said Sunday.

"The three-day fest, ninth in series, will showcase 19 films from Bangladesh, Egypt, France, India, Ireland, Iran, Israel, Britain and the US," organiser Lobsang Wangyal, 42, told IANS.

Some of the directors who will attend the festival to present their films include Pema Dhondup from California with his film "Arise", Sudeep Ranjan Sarkar from Kolkata with "Neti Neti" (Not This, Not This), Prashant Vanjani from Delhi with "Villari" and Ninad Kulkarni from Pune with "Connection Failed".

Kulkarni, 16, will be the youngest among the directors, Wangyal said. His first film, based on farmers' suicide in Maharashtra, was made when he was 12.

Dhondup's "Arise" is about the ongoing self-immolations in Tibet.

"The festival is aimed at sharing beautiful stories, concerns, interests, and creativity," said Wangyal, the producer and director of the popular Tibetan Music Awards and Miss Tibet pageant.

He believes such events help the exiled community to draw the attention of the world to the cause of Tibet.

McLeodganj, the quaint uphill town, has already gained prominence for attracting a steady stream of Tibet enthusiasts, Buddhist scholars, back packers and even Hollywood stars like Richard Gere.

Also known as Little Lhasa, located just eight kilometres from here, McLeodganj is known for its Tibetan artefacts and traditional recipes like Tibetan dumplings.

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