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 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, not just from India but from across the world. In 2020, DIFF was the first and only major film festival in India to go entirely online. This extended the reach of DIFF across South Asia and enabled many new viewers to participate in the festival.

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 2022 will be held as hybrid version beginning 3 November 2022. The physical festival will be held in Dharamshala from 3 to 6 November and the online programme will be accessible to viewers for a longer period of time.

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. DIFF 2022 will be held as a hybrid edition starting 3 November. The physical event will take place in McLeod Ganj from 3 to 6 November. The online edition will be accessible for a longer period of time. If the situation changes due to the pandemic, the festival will be held only in the virtual format.
2. Depending on the situation due to the pandemic, the festival dates may be advanced or postponed. In case of a postponement all submitted films will be considered for the later date and the notification period will be revised accordingly.
3. Please indicate if you wish to make your film available for our online programme
4. 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.
5. All films should be independently produced. Independently produced short and mid-length films which have been acquired by digital platforms are also eligible for submission.
6. Films completed on or after 1st January 2021 are eligible for submission.
7. Films need to be a Dharamshala premiere.
8. Entries are accepted in all languages. All non-English language films should contain English subtitles.
9. Only HD format films are accepted.
10. All entry fees are non-refundable under all circumstances.
11. Final status of the selected films will be notified by 1st October 2022.
12. Selected film must confirm participation in the festival within 3 days of receiving the notification
13. Selected films cannot be withdrawn once the agreement has been signed.
14. DIFF will not pay a screening fee or delivery fee for the selected films.
15. Selected films need to send downloadable DCP or movie files.
16. 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.
17. Submitted films should not contain any content which violates/infringes copyright.
18. 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.
19. DIFF reserves the rights to use the posters/video clippings/trailers of the selected films for promotion on social media and its partner platforms.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. In case of films produced by a film institute, government agency, educational institute or any other organisation, 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.
23. The submitted film should not be under any kind of legal dispute.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Srishti Lakhera

    This is a great festival with a lot of reach in India.
    DIFF team is very professional and communicates and asks for filmmakers' permission at every stage which is steeped in consent-based relation. I am very happy that we started screening Ek Tha Gaon|Once Upon A Village in India with DIFF.

    November 2021
  • Jon Cuyson

    I am extremely honored to have my short film Nanay Cleo's Dream be a part of an amazingly curated and well-organized festival. Thank you, DIFF!

    November 2021
  • Tathagata Ghosh

    One of the best film festivals! Period! DIFF stands for cinema in its purest form and that gets reflected in its programming. As a filmmaker, there can't be a better place than DIFF to show your film. Thank you for the experience and for programming our film "Dhulo"(The Scapegoat) this year. It was unforgettable!

    November 2021
  • Madhulika Jalali

    DIFF is undoubtedly one of the best Film Festivals of India. The Programming is excellent, the communication was extremely efficient, the best I've seen so far. I only wish I could have attended it - amongst the mountains. Was extremely honoured to have my film Ghar Ka Pata (Home Address) here in 2020. Thank you so much team DIFF!

    July 2021
  • Mayura Dolas

    DIFF is without any doubt one of the most prestigious film festivals. It is a recognition that many filmmakers crave for. Though we missed the vibrant environment and networking due to the pandemic, they had chosen a trusted streaming partner to ensure smooth and secure programming.

    Looking forward to attend the future editions physically in the mountains!

    January 2021