Ladakh, a high-altitude region in the north of India, is set to host its first ever international film festival from June 15-17 next year.
Organised by Delhi-based production company Monasse Films, the new event will screen around 45 films in four sections – international competition, world cinema, Indian and Ladakhi films. The Ladakh section will screen films about the region as well as local productions.
Monasse was inspired to mount the festival after shooting Dr Biju’s The Way Home in Ladakh last year. “A whole village was washed away in rain storms after we finished shooting, but nobody came to help,” said Monasse’s Melwyn Williams Chirayath. “People exploit Ladakh but don’t give anything back – we thought a film festival would help boost the economy and tourism.”
The festival will be funded from private sources, although it has the approval of local government. Screenings will be held in a government auditorium, which will be fitted with a 35mm projector and Dolby sound facilities, and two open-air venues.
“The emphasis of the festival is on ecosystems as Ladakh is a pristine area, so we’ll have a waste management team and monitor carbon footprinting,” said Chirayath. The festival will also hand out a Snow Leopard award to the best film about an endangered species.