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Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) announces the five young Himalayan Filmmakers chosen to participate in this year’s Film Fellows Programme, including two winners from Himachal Pradesh. DIFF is pleased to announce the five participants in its fourth Film Fellows Programme. As part of our vision to promote independent cinema in the mountains, the fellowship programme targets young up-and-coming filmmakers from the Indian Himalayan region.
This year’s fellows have been invited to attend screenings of the best of contemporary independent cinema at DIFF 2017 and participate in masterclasses and workshops held by visiting directors and industry professionals. They will also receive one-to-one mentorship sessions from accomplished filmmakers. The 2017 jury consisted of film editor and artistic director of the International Film Festival of Kerala, Bina Paul, feature filmmaker Shubhashish Bhutiani, and Tibetan-American documentary filmmaker Tenzin Tsetan Choklay.
Siddharth Chauhan is an independent filmmaker from Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, where he began his career with Secret Corridor Pictures. His short films include Boys Don’t Wear Nailpolish! (2015) and Papa (2015), which has travelled to festivals as far afield as Europe, Sarajevo, Indonesia, New Zealand and China. Siddharth is currently writing his first feature-length screenplay.
Sazzad Hussain hails from Guwahati, Assam, and studied at SRM Film School, Thane. He also trained as an actor at Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares drama school in Mumbai, and continues to take part in theatrical productions. Sazzad’s short film Choice (2016) won the Media Blitz prize in 2017.
Renuka Soraisam, from Imphal, Manipur, is a filmmaker, graphic designer and event manager. Having graduated in advertising from Sophia College for women in Mumbai, she pursued a master’s in mass communication at Manipur University. Renuka is also an associate of the Nachom Art Foundation, Manipur.
Jenifer Datta was born in Tura, Meghalaya and has written, directed and edited four short films, the latest of which, Thank You for Watching (2017) is competing at festivals. She is currently penning her first feature-length film.
Piyush Kanga is an actor and director from Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh. Currently based in Shimla, he has written and directed a number of short films, including Dost (2016)—which was screened as part of DIFF 2016’s community outreach programme—and Stuck-ed (2017).
The mentors for this year’s Film Fellows Programme are National Award-winning filmmaker Gurvinder Singh, who currently resides in Bir, Himachal Pradesh, and Nepali-Tibetan screenwriter and director, Kesang Tseten. Gurvinder is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, where he has taught alongside filmmaker Mani Kaul. His film Chauthi Koot (2015), which premiered at Cannes, was also screened at DIFF 2015. Kesang is one of Nepal’s best-known documentary filmmakers. A graduate in journalism from Columbia University, US, he has directed a number of award-winning films including In Search of the Riyal (2009), Who Will Be a Gurkha (2012) and Castaway Man (2015).
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