Fri, Dec 9, 2016 | updated 10:56 PM IST

Tibetan Film Festival opens in Dharamsala

Updated: Sep 17, 2016 15:58 IST

Dharamsala [India], Sept. 17 (ANI): A film festival, showcasing movies from Tibet and new productions by Tibetan filmmakers-in-exile, opened in hill town of Dharamsala on Friday.

The two-day Tibetan Film Festival was inaugurated by Prime Minister-in- Exile, Lobsang Sangay.

The festival was thronged by aspiring and experienced Tibetan filmmakers alike. Connoisseurs from across the world, looking to understand Tibetan cinema better, also visited the festival.

"I came to Dharamsala just yesterday. We knew about the festival and we wanted to know the development of the Tibetan films and we (also) knew that there was collaboration with Switzerland," said a Swiss visitor, Lindeman.

A Tibetan filmmaker, Sonam Tseten, said that it was good to see people turn up in huge numbers.

"I feel so happy and glad to come here and (would) like (people) to understand what I am trying to tell (through) the story," said Tibetan film maker, Sonam Tseten.

The highlight of this year's festival is a short-film competition with the theme 'Food'.

The winners of Jury Awards and Audience Prizes will be awarded with the Yak prize - a sculpture made by Tibetan artist Thubten Purang - and will win 500/300/200 USD (Jury Prizes) and USD 200 (Audience Prize).

"Now we have two things, we have short film competition and then we have some films made by Tibetans and this is quite unique. We only show films where Tibetans have huge involvement. So we are not showing films made by westerners or by Americans but films made by Tibetans and while we are here this same programme takes place in Zurich in Switzerland," said organiser, Wangpo Tethong.

This festival seeks to commemorate the spirit and courage of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen and others like him.

Wangchen was imprisoned by China for six years after he made a film "Leaving Fear Behind," in which ordinary Tibetans praised their spiritual leader Dalai Lama and complained about how their culture had been trampled upon.

A farmer, Wangchen, and his monk friend Golog Jigme -- also known as Jigme Gyatso -- were detained shortly after finishing the film, but managed to smuggle tapes out of the country. (ANI)