'World's Highest Film Festival' to Kick Off at 11,000 Feet in Himalayas

2:35 AM PST 06/17/2014 by Nyay Bhushan
AP
A buddhist monk in Ladakh, India.

The third edition of the Ladakh International Film Festival runs June 27-29, and the Dalai Lama will be in town to conduct a Buddhist ritual shortly after the event.

The third edition of the Ladakh International Film Festival will again be hosted in the town of Leh, in the mountainous northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Said to be the highest-altitude film festival in the world at over 11,000 feet, LIFF will open with director Kamal Swaroop's Rangbhoomi. The film is based on a semi-autobiographical play by Dadasaheb Phalke, considered the father of Indian cinema, who made the country's first full-length feature, Raja Harischandra, in 1913.

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LIFF will also host the “green carpet” Asian premiere of acclaimed Indian director Anurag Kashyap's latest feature, Ugly, a dark thriller revolving around a couple's frantic search for their missing daughter.

Following its 2013 Cannes screening and subsequent run at other festivals, Ugly which was acquired by Paris-based sales agent Elle Driver recently saw its French theatrical release. The film's India release is slated for August.

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The festival's other highlights include a program of contemporary Korean films and tributes to the late veterans of Hindi cinema, actor Farooq Sheikh and actress Nanda

LIFF's theme this year is "Spirituality and Camaraderie." Incidentally, the Dalai Lama will be in town to hold a traditional Tibetan Buddhist Kalachakra ritual shortly after the festival. 

"LIFF has come of age it is now an important film festival in South Asia,” said LIFF chairman and veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal. “It also has the distinction of being the only international film festival on the roof of the world, ringed by the tallest mountains of the Himalayas.”

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The festival jury this year includes International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) general secretary Klaus Eder and Asia Pacific Screen Awards head Maxine Williamson.

The Ladakh International Film Festival runs June 27-29. 

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