First Himalayan Film Festival concludes; ‘Sekool’, ‘Shadey: A Forgotten Land’ win honours

The festival concluded with the screening of the internationally acclaimed film ‘Shepherdess of the Glaciers’ by renowned Ladakhi filmmaker Stanzin Dorjai

Ladakhi filmmakers Stenzin Tankong and Stanzin Gurmet, and three short films were felicitated at the inaugural edition of the Himalayan Film Festival, with Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur strongly pitching for continuancethe movie gala as an annual event to showcase talent of the Himalayan region.

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The five-day event concluded at Sindhu Sanskriti Kendra inLeh, Ladakh on Tuesday night.

Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh presided over the function as the chief guest. Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Government of India (GoI), Apurva Chandra, and renowned Filmmaker Rakyesh Ompraksah Mehra were the special guests, an official spokesman said.

While Tankong’s acclaimed film “Sekool” won the best story award, “Shadey: A Forgotten Land” by Gurmet received the best editing award. Four award-winning entries were screened in the closing session.

The award of best three short films was bagged by “The Tainted Mirror” (Meiteilon/Manipur), “Go for Organic”, and “Homework and Godliness”, which were awarded the cash prize of Rs 3.5 lakh each.

The festival concluded with the screening of the internationally acclaimed film “Shepherdess of the Glaciers” by renowned Ladakhi filmmaker Stanzin Dorjai.

Speaking at the closing function, Mathur expressed happiness over the success of the festival and said it should continue as an annual event. For better training of the local film aspirants, the lieutenant governor said the administration is working towards tying up with the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune to provide courses in Ladakh.

“In addition to creativity, technology has an important role to play in the contemporary film industry and one must become a professional,” he said. While commending the youth of Ladakh for their talent and creativity, Mathur asserted that they must aim to win the world, on their own terms and rooted in their own culture.

Expressing his fondness for the Ladakhi folktale ‘Gyalam-Kesar’, the lieutenant governor said he hopes it is adapted into a motion picture someday.

Addressing the gathering, chairman, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, Tashi Gyalson expressed hope to see local filmmakers making it big in Bollywood.

Gyalson also urged veteran filmmakers from Ladakh to encourage budding filmmakers to explore the film industry with their talent and fulfil their potential.

Chandra, Secretary, I&B, GoI, appreciated the maiden attempt by the administration of Ladakh in successfully conducting the first edition of the Himalayan Film Festival.

He also suggested taking up the idea of organising a national-level festival on short films to encourage aspiring filmmakers from smaller regions like Ladakh. Chandra requested the administration to draft a film policy and provide incentives to the filmmakers to shoot in Ladakh. He assured all possible support to the filmmakers of Ladakh from the MIB.

Filmmaker Mehra, known for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and “Rang De Basanti”, suggested making the mobie gala an international affair in future. He proposed to invite interns from Ladakh to his production house, adding he is willing to spend a month in the union territory every year to impart skill training to aspiring filmmakers.

Earlier in the day, an ‘In-conversation Session’ with Bollywood actor Kirti Kulhari was one of the highlights of the concluding day of the Festival.

The festival, which ran from September 24 to September 28, received 100 entries from Himalayan states and UTs. A total of 26 films were screened and 18 entry films recommended by the jury were also screened, the spokesman said. Similarly, a total of 21 films made by Ladakhi filmmakers received in the competition section were also screened at PictureTime Digiplex, he said.

The festival also held master class sessions with Priya Krishnaswamy, S Nallamuthu, Nila Madhab Panda, Phontsog Ladakhi and in-conversation sessions with Anupama Chopra, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and Nikhil Talegaonkar.

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