“Bringing independent cinema to the mountains.” Thus reads the tagline of the Dharamshala International Film Festival, which was held in the hometown-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, in the Himalayas in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh from Nov. 3 to 6. The festival featured 43 films and 20 filmmakers, including nine international filmmakers who presented their films in the town of Dharamshala, which is also the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Why should an international film festival be held in the Dalai Lama’s town? Why is it significant for exiled Tibetans? The Diplomat spoke to filmmaker Tenzing Sonam, a Tibetan in exile who runs a production company, White Crane Films, along with his wife and partner, Ritu Sarin, to ask these questions, and more.