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. **UPDATE: DIFF 2020 WILL MOVE TO A DIGITAL VERSION** | Due to uncertainty around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, DIFF 2020 may have to move to an online platform or be postponed. In case of a postponement all submitted films will be considered for the later date and the notification period will be revised accordingly.
2. 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.
3. All films should be independently produced. Independently produced films which have been acquired by digital platforms are also eligible for submission.
4. Films completed on or after 1st January 2019 are eligible for submission.
5. Films need to be a Dharamshala premiere.
6. Entries are accepted in all languages. All non-English language films should contain English subtitles.
7. Only HD format films are accepted.
8. All entry fees are non-refundable under all circumstances
9. Final status of the selected films will be notified by 1st October 2020.
10. Selected films cannot be withdrawn once the festival programme is announced.
11. DIFF will not pay a screening fee or delivery fee for the selected films.
12. Selected films from outside of India need to send downloadable digital files.
13. 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.
14. Submitted films should not contain any content which violates/infringes copyright.
15. 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.
16. DIFF reserves the rights to use the posters/video clippings/trailers of the selected films for promotion on social media and its partner platforms.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. The submitted film should not be under any kind of legal dispute.

Overall Rating
  • ZITA Erffa

    Sadly I couldn't go to the Festival, because I live too far away, but I was very happy to that it played in Dharamshala, because I went there very often as a kid and have a friend who still lives there. She was super happy to see the film there and I was so happy that she could see it. The communication with the Festival was supergood and also the other films they played seemed very interesting! Thank you! :)

    January 2020
  • Andrew Scott

    Although I could not attend I do have a few comments to make about DIFF. Communication was warm and efficient, the festival produced a gorgeous hard copy program and a slick website to showcase the finely curated selection of films. Only wish I could have been there in the stunning location to enjoy it all. Top marks to the team!

    December 2019
  • Shazia Iqbal

    DIFF is one of the best film festival in the country. Their film selection shows genuine efforts at showcasing the best of the year from India and international films. I feel honoured to have shared my film with film lovers at DIFF.

    December 2019
  • Mehvish Rather

    It has been an honor to be a part of this incredible film festival. The entire team was so helpful and considerate throughout the festival. The lineup of the films was absolutely brilliant. The festival was conducted in such a smooth fashion and that was only possible because of the endless work done by the team. It is a beautiful festival not just because of the mountains and the surroundings but mostly because of the people conducting and attending the festival.

    December 2019
  • Raj Krishna

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

    December 2019