The fourth edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) came to an end on Sunday with the screening of Neeraj Ghaywan's "Masaan", starring Richa Chadha, Vicky Kaushal, Sanjay Mishra and Shweta Tripathi in lead roles.
Released across 300 screens in India on July 24, "Masaan" came into the limelight after it won the FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard section and a 'Promising Future' Award at Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year.
Set against the backdrop of Banaras, the film follows two seemingly separate story arcs that eventually converge.
The film struck the right chords with the audience here.
Organised by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the four-day independent film festival, which started with the screening of Kanu Bhel's "Titli" on November 5, continued to present independent cinema to the critics and movie aficionados.
This year, the festival also launched a new programme Reel Neverland, specifically tailored for younger audiences. Under this, a range of animated and live action children films from around the globe were screened.
This included Russian short film "About a Mother" by Dina Velikovskayato, Brazilian director Ale Abreu's "The Boy and The World", Olivier Ringer's "Birds of Passage", Astrid Bussink's "Giovanni and the Water Ballet" and Jury Feting's "Celestial Camel".
Some of the internationally acclaimed independant film which created buzz amongst the audience this year included Burmese director The Maw Naing's "The Monk", Japanese director Kaoru Ikeya's "Lung Ta", Bhutanese director Dechen Roder's "Lo Sum Choe Sum" and Israeli director Talya Lavie's "Zero Motivation".
"The response that we have received this year is more than what we had expected. Apart from foreign filmmakers and tourists from different countries, this year we saw an increase in the Indian people, who came from different states," Ritu Sarin told IANS.
"We saw an approximately 90 percent seat occupancy this year which is even more than what we saw last year. Apart from older age group, we managed to entertain the younger lot as well with the special kids section, which we had this year," she added.
Some of the independent Indian filmmaker, who attended the festival this year included Ruchika Oberoi, who presented her film "Island City", Gurvinder Singh for "Chauthi Koot", Prashant Nair for "Umrika", Bhaskar Hazarika for "Kothanodi", Neeraj Ghaywan and Kanu Behl.
Filmmakers and movie enthusiasts are now in anticipation of a assemblage of diverse independent cinema in the next edition of the movie gala.