Ladakh Film Festival takes off


    Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday formally inaugurated the first Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF).

    SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday formally inaugurated the first Ladakh International Film Festival (LIFF). Sixty local, national and international films with themes around the arid desert region would be screened for the next three days.

    “It will help showcase Ladakh internationally and attract more tourists to this beautiful place," Omar told the participants. “I hope the festival is world class and matching to the other film festivals taking place globally.” He suggested organizers to make it a permanent summer feature in Leh as the entire required infrastructure is available within the town.

    Noted filmmaker Shyam Benegal is chairing the festival. Its patrons include big names from the industry including Mike Panday, Shekhar Kapor, Jacon Neiindem, Shaji N Karun, Govind Nehlani, Nitin Deai, Vishal Bhardwaj, Madhur Bhandarkar, Ketan Mehta, Christain Junne, antosh Sivan, Derek Melcolm, Mani Ratnam and Dipti Naval.

    The films being screened would tackle different subjects surrounding Ladakh, especially its culture and fragile ecology. There are art films as well feature films and documentaries. Over the years, a small film making community has evolved in the district that has made a number of commercial films also. Most of the films are not about Ladakh.

    There are 28 films in the competition category including five feature films, ix documentaries and 17 short films. In the open category, there are 12 international, 14 national and nine locals films being screened. Assamese film director Jahnu Barua is heading the jury and the successful film would get snow leopard trophy and a million rupees cash. It is a cash reward of Rs 400 thousand for best director and Rs 200 thousand for the best debut film.

    After watching the films, Omar advised filmmaker they should move around and see how fascinating locations and the breathtaking landscape can offer them impressive sets for shooting. He also requested the hosts to ensure they do not compromise with the fragile ecology of the region.

    LIFF has attracted a number of film makers from Bolywood and various western countries. A host of NGOs that are working on the social, educational and ecological fronts in the desert region have extended a lot of help to the organizers to get a number of participants, some of whom are expected to shoot films in the region though not necessarily on Ladakh.
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