Free Spirit Film Festival grants Jury Award to Tailing Pond

Audience on the concluding night of the 15th Free Spirit Film Festival in McLeod Ganj, India, on 31 October 2019.

Audience on the concluding night of the 15th Free Spirit Film Festival in McLeod Ganj, India, on 31 October 2019. Tibet Sun/Contributor

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McLEOD GANJ, India, 1 November 2019

Free Spirit Film Festival last night concluded its 15th annual edition in the last three days of October in the Himalayan village of McLeod Ganj, and the full-house audience in the makeshift theatre showed that it was a huge success.

Dubbed the “smallest film festival in the world”, the festival screened 13 films, announcing Queen of the Beach as Best Picture, its director Christopher McDonell (Cleetche) bagging the Best Director award, as well as taking the Audience Award. The Best Music award also went to this film.

In the film, a Canadian filmmaker captures the life and dreams of nine-year-old Shilpa Poojar who hawks clothes and jewellry on a beach in Goa, India. He returns three times over the next seven years to follow her journey, and to help her achieve her childhood dream of going to school.

Tailing Pond, directed by Saurav Vishnu, won the Best Documentary award and the Special Jury Prize. This film exposes the life-threatening problems faced by the villagers due to the tailings from the uranium mine contaminating the local water sources.

Best Cinemotography award went to The Legend of the White Ibex, directed by Markus Otz. The film compares the human soul with the forces of the universe, in the awareness of the indispensable necessity of the man-nature union.

Kamali, Directed by Sasha Rainbow, won the Best Short Film award. The film shows a single mother’s fight for her daughter’s empowerment in India through skateboarding.

The French film Le Thé au Fond de la Theiere got the Best Editing award. Set up in 19th-century Vietnam, the protagonist is a young bubbling man who does not control his emotions.

Steer, showing how people can lose control for the sake of momentary joy and commit irreparable mistakes, got the Special Mention.

Best Original Concept went to Synchronicity, directed by Stephanie Neroes, which tells the story of two young women unknowingly drifting towards each other as a result of manifesting love into their lives.

The Free Spirit Film Festival was started in 2004, to create a buzz in the Himalayan village of McLeod Ganj for a film fraternity, enthusiasim in the youth, and promote global consciousness. It has since been produced annually at the end of October, screening films in all genres.

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