Dharamsala (Mcleod Ganj): The Kosovo feature film entry Agnus Dei directed by Agim Sopi in Albanian with English subtitles was adjudged as the best picture at the 10th Free Spirit Film Festival that concluded here last night.
Spread over five days (October 25 to 29) in all 30 films were screened at evening shows starting from 5 p.m. at Tibetan Day School, McLeod Ganj and 13 award winner films were announced at the closing ceremony.
Sudeep Ranjan Sarkar was declared the best director for his feature film Umformung – The Transformation, an Indian entry at the film. The film in Hindi had English subtitles.
An Australian feature film in English ‘Eight’ directed by Peter Blackburn was adjudged to have the best screenplay.
The Israel / German documentary film Kyrie in English directed by Holger Klussmann picked up the best cinematography award.
The Tibet / Canada documentary film Plundering Tibet by Michael Buckley was announced as the best documentary film at the award ceremony.
A film from Israel, The Visit directed by Inbar Horesh in Hebrew/Arabic/Russian with English subtitles was handed the best short film award.
The French short film entry Tete-aTete – Head to Head directed by Lisa Reznik bagged the best editing award.
The Best Music award was taken by the Hindi feature film Umformung – The Transformation.
For Best Art Direction, the jury awarded the Peru/Turkey short film entry Dimensions directed by Okan Caliskan.
The silent fantasy film An Admirer’s Gift by Indian filmmaker Nikhil was given the best original concept award.
The silent short film Greed directed by Turkish director Erhan Yuruk bagged the audience award
The Italian silent short film Now Here directed by Beatrice Grande got a special mention at the award and Plundering Tibet was handed the special jury prize.
The festival opened up with the India Premiere of the film Plundering Tibet — A personal take on mining in Tibet. The documentary shows the dire consequences of China’s ruthless mining in Tibet.
Umformung — The Transformation was the closing film of the festival. The film is a story of intense dimensions with two parallel streams running through it – one, that of a Buddhist monk in a search for his inner truths, and the other is that of a female city builder whose belief in life is all about power, greed, and manipulation.
Story line of best film Angus Dei at the festival is about Peter, a young man in his thirties, was born in Kosovo from a forbidden love between his mother Maria and a young Albanian man, but he is not aware of this. As a soldier in the war between Serbia and Albania, he unknowingly kills his father Dini whom he had never met.
Unable to bear the guilt, Peter escapes to the mountains with Dini’s daughter Maria. During their dangerous trip Peter and Maria fall in love. As soon as they return to Peter’s home in Serbia, Peter finds out that he had killed his biological father and fallen in love with his own sister. Not being able to stand this spiritual condition he commits suicide.
Aimed at sharing beautiful stories, concerns, interests, and creativity, the Free Spirit Film Festival is an annual event held since 2004 in McLeod Ganj that honours and promotes independent filmmakers from around the world.
Social entrepreneur Lobsang Wangyal – the brain behind the Free Spirit Film Festival says, “This festival could not have reached such a milestone without the support of dedicated staff members, volunteers, donors and filmmakers from around the world.
Wangyal is known for producing other popular events such as Miss Tibet Pageant, Miss Himalaya Pageant, and Tibetan Music Awards.
Before start of the festival the fugitive whistle blower Edward Snowden in absentia was conferred the Free Spirit Award 2014. “Mr Snowden, in temporary asylum in Russia due to cancellation of his passport by the US, was unable to be here in person to receive it,” said Wangyal.
“The Free Spirit Award 2014 is being given to Edward Snowden for letting us all know about extensive world-wide surveillance by the government of the United States, with its accompanying destruction of the basic human right of privacy,” read the award plaque.