The Dharamshala International Film Festival was started in 2012 by filmmakers and Dharamshala residents, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam. It is held annually in McLeod Ganj, a town with no cinemas that is best known as the exile home of the Dalai Lama. Focusing on showcasing the best of independent films from India and around the world, the festival has gained a reputation for its eclectic and adventurous programming, its beautiful mountain setting, and its intimate and cinema-literate atmosphere. DIFF attracts the finest indie filmmakers, film critics and film lovers from across the country and from abroad.

The Asian Age called the festival “India’s Sundance”. Leading film critic Namrata Joshi, a regular DIFF visitor, said: “It has now become a go-to event in my diary…I love the vibe, the intimacy, warmth, cheerfulness and the fact that it gives you space to breathe between films and absorb them.”

DIFF does not have awards. It operates in the belief that the celebration of good cinema does not require competition or the intrusion of market forces.

1. Given that DIFF is a small festival that can showcase only a limited number of handpicked films, only films that are original in their story-telling and use of cinema language, and that meet the highest international standards, will have a chance of being selected.
2. All films should be independently produced. Independently produced films which have been acquired by digital platforms are also eligible for submission.
3. Films completed on or after 1st January 2018 are eligible for submission.
4. Entries are accepted in all languages. All non-English language films should contain English subtitles.
5. Only HD format films are accepted.
6. All entry fees are non-refundable under all circumstances
7. Final status of the selected films will be notified by 30 September 2019.
8. Selected films cannot be withdrawn once the festival programme is announced.
9. All selection decisions will be final and binding upon the participants. DIFF is under no obligation to provide any feedback for selections or non-selections.
10. Submitted films should not contain any content which violates/infringes copyright.
11. Any content that promotes racism, hatred amongst communities or religions, gender discrimination, animal cruelty, and/or are religious/commercial propaganda films, will not be accepted.
12. DIFF reserves the rights to use the posters/video clippings/trailers of the selected films for promotion on social media and its partner platforms.
13. Selected films must provide all the required details of their films as per the format prescribed by DIFF, including the digital copy of the film. Exact specifications will be communicated for all selected films.
14. By submitting the film to DIFF, the applicant hereby confirms that she/he is the rightful owner of the film or has the right & authority to submit the film to DIFF for selection. The applicant also indemnifies DIFF from any legal claim or dispute that may arise from the submitted film.
15. In case of films produced by a film institute, government agency, educational institute or any other organization, the applicant must provide written permission via mail (post selection) from the concerned authorities confirming the participation of the film in DIFF. Any kind of misrepresentation or failure to adhere to the norms of DIFF will lead to disqualification of the film.
16. The submitted film should not be under any kind of legal dispute.

Overall Rating
  • Raj Krishna

    Extraordinary films, wonderfully organised by people who actually love cinema. The mountain setting is the cherry on top. Highly recommend!

    December 2019
  • Sohil Vaidya

    One of the most incredible festivals in India. Wonderful selection of handpicked films. The programming was top notch. Hospitality was wonderful. MC Leod Ganj where the festival takes place is a beautiful place to visit. I would highly recommend submitting your film here.

    December 2019
  • Jesse Alk

    This has to be one of the coolest festivals in India. Run by super-legitimate filmmakers, independent, internationally-minded, DIFF has extremely high programming standards, and is very well-regarded within India. It was a huge personal disappointment that I fell ill at the last moment and was not able to attend, but communication was excellent, the festival got my film a lot of attention, and I was thrilled to have our Indian Premiere at DIFF. Understanding which Indian film festivals on Filmfreeway are legitimate, which are prestigious, and which are professionally run can be hard for a foreigner, who may not know the landscape. DIFF should be on everyone's top of the list for their South Asian film festival applications.

    November 2019
  • Stenzin Tankong

    The most beautiful Festival I have been to!!!

    November 2019