A two-day Shimla Film Festival 2014, showcasing a mix of films by Himachal Pradesh filmmakers and films from other parts of the country as well as one foreign short film, began here Saturday.
The inaugural screening was of Himachal folk film "Belasru" by Jaidev Gupta. The film is based on local marriage and divorce laws that are more liberal than those codified and empower women with more rights in deciding their marital choices.
Speaking on the occasion, Gupta said Himachal filmmakers are a struggling lot and the industry is yet to take root in the state.
"Should film festivals focusing on Himachali films like this be held more regularly, in time, a vibrant film industry will establish itself in the state," he said.
Other than the inaugural feature film, two other Himachal feature films, "Budha Pahad Ka", a comedy, and an award winning film "Dil Ch Wasya Koi" were screened at the festival.
Set in Dharamsala, "Dile Ch Wasya Koi" is about 'love alone triumphs'.
Of the 34 films to be screened at the festival, 18 are by Himachal filmmakers, which include three feature films, three short films, six documentaries, four music videos and two public awareness spot advertisement films, festival director Ravinder Makhaik told reporters.
An engineer and MBA by qualification, Amit Baweja is a filmmaker by profession, who has come from Mumbai to be present at the screening of his short film "Muktibodh".
"It was not just to be present for screening of my film, but a long desire to see Shimla that has brought me here," he said.
"Muktibodh" is one of the 16 films from the open category shortlisted by a jury for screening at the festival. In all, there were 51 entries for the open film category.
Shot on a shoestring budget, "Muktibodh" is about aspirations and defeat.
Others who are at the festival include Mumbai filmmaker Deepak Sharma ("Waapasi"), Ahmedabad filmmaker Ajay Kanaujiya (documentary "Ghumantu"), Himachal filmmakers Sanjeev Rattan ("Dile Ch Vasya Kot"), Vikas Rana (animation music video "Amma Puchdi") and Nawal Kishore (documentary "Preserving Ancient Art of Weaving Kinnauri Shawls").
"Agu Kore Hathadu", an amateur music video by Des Kashyap, shot in Himachal but edited and processed in the US, was also screened.
"No Bread", a film in Spanish with English sub-titles about a struggling 72-year-old grocer threatened by a supermarket, was also screened on the first day.
Governor Urmila Singh will be the chief guest for the awards ceremony on the concluding day.