Summaries of the films : Free Spirit Film Festival 2013 21 to 23 October - 4 pm - Day School McLeod Ganj

Monday 21 October - 4pm

Dalai Lama and China

Directed by Tom Vendetti India 2013 Documentary 8 min English

A short film featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama, addressing the Chinese occupation of Tibet and the survival of Tibetan culture.

Chinese troops invaded Tibet in 1950, bringing sudden and violent end to Tibet's centuries-old isolation beyond the Himalayas.

In 1959, in the wake of the invasion, the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual and temporal leader, along with nearly 100,000 Tibetans, fled to exile in India. The Dalai Lama established the Central Tibetan Administration in McLeod Ganj, a hilltop town in northern India, working for a negotiated settlement with China.

In the years after, Tibet's people under China's rule are being continually persecuted, and their religion and culture systematically eradicated, through dilution as well as active destruction, to the brink of extinction.

Neti Neti (Not This, Not This)

Directed by Dr Sudeep Ranjan Sarkar India 2013 Short 27 min English and Bengali India premiere

About the eternal search of humankind: Is all that we perceive real? Isn't life a cosmic dream? It is time we seek the eternal truth that has eluded us.

The protagonist Dreamer faces these questions in her dream, in which she assumes the identities of a grave-digger, a "Dom", a child, an old lady, a prostitute, a Baul singer. In her dream she is also the witness, and sees God through her belief patterns. She is confused when she perceives a nameless being playing dice with God and herself. All these and more leave her perplexed. Truth, as the Dreamer realizes, is "Endless Genesis in the sea of Nirvana."

On Perception and Environment

Directed by Philip Clemo UK 2013 Experimental 5 min English

Three shorts on perception and environment:

  1. Four Seconds to Midnight: If the estimated 4.5 billion years our planet has been in existence is equated to 24 hours, modern humans have been around for about 4 seconds. This film poses questions about our relationship with our home, and journeys from aerial views over Iceland terrain to intimate micro-worlds in southern England.
  2. Wide-eyed: An observation on the different qualities and forms of light. And the wide-eyed qualities of childhood. Shot in northern Scotland and southern England.
  3. Return: Shot in the Arctic Circle in northern Norway and in the UK, Return explores impermanence and transformation.

Illusive Peace in Kashmir

Directed by Shuja Paul India 2011 Documentary 30 min English

Paradise on earth seems serene, the mountain peaks waiting to be explored, the sparkling lakes changing colors, lush meadows teasing the cool breeze and valley decorated by streams singing songs of nature. However, the Peace here is always illusive. There has never been a dearth of reasons for the valley to turn into hell in an instant.

Illusive Peace takes you to the foothills of Himalayas and provides an in-depth story of the place, the people and the ever lurking conflict in the region. The most beautiful place is also the most dangerous place, caught up between the two nuclear countries this place is a probable nuclear flash point

Koan of Spring

Directed by Lou Ma Ho Korea/France/Vietnam 2013 Feature 80 min Vietnamese (English subtitles)

Master Truong, the old Fearless of the emperor, is nearing the end of his life and he has not yet found his successor. The country has to be prepared for war and the Emperor is furiously impatient. He gives him two weeks to find it.

Master Truong goes to visit a famous General (Master Wing) who had disappeared to become a simple fisherman. Wing lives with his two sons (Tin and Tan) and daughter (Lan, with a disfigured face) on the shores of the Lake Ba Bê. Master Truong knows very well the legend of this lake, but this time he will really understand its meaning.

Master Truong tells Master Wing he wants to test his two sons. People talked him a lot about their quality. Disappointed by their results, he tests also Lan. She has not a priori a high level of practice but Master Truong will choose her.

He has finally found the person who has all the qualities to succeed him. Unhappy, one more time, things are not so simple. Master Truong will return to the palace without a successor, but with something more precious.

Tuesday 22 October - 4pm

Connection Failed

Directed by Ninad Kulkarni India 2013 Thriller 11 min English

A psychological thriller revolving around the life of a Facebook-addicted boy after his internet connection fails.

Tofael - the Tea Stall Boy

Directed by Minhazur Rahman Nayan Bangaldesh 2013 Short 1 min Bengali

Tofael works in a tea stall and lives near the Moghbazar wireless rail crossing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One day a man comes to Tofael's stall for tea, and forgets his mobile there. Tofafel finds it, looks for the man and returns his mobile.


Directed by Sanjeev Sankhalpara UK 2013 Short 13 min English

Pratic has fallen in love but one thing stands in the way: his controlling wife. When he poisons her and drives to a remote field to bury the body, everything appears to be going to plan. However when she unexpectedly wakes up, Pratic soon finds out his own life is in trouble.

Vartul (Circle)

Directed by Santosh Ram India 2013 Short 19 min Marathi (English subtitles)

Ten-year-old Damu leaves his home to buy jaggery. On the way he meets his friend Manya, and they stop at a bi-scope wallah [movie house]. Damu realises that he does not have enough money and he decides to earn some quick money. This greed takes him to gamble, and after the game Damu goes to the shop. But he walks back with tearful eyes.


Directed by Ahmed Fathy Elmassry Egypt 2013 Short 8.20 min Arabic (English subtitles)

Sheftishy is an Egyptian art in jewellery design, dating back to the Ottoman period. Making it is essentially a manual job. Sami has one of the workshops that make that art, and he struggles to keep that workshop in a situation very similar to what Egyptians have nowadays.

Once Again (Phir Vehi)

Directed by Sanjay Arora US 2012 Spritual 48 min Hindi, English

A story inspired from truth of life. Raj Malhotra, a self-centered company executive, takes life for granted, and uses situations and people around him to his advantage. But life takes an unexpected turn, forcing him to accept reality, and this paves the way to a journey of transformation.

The Secret Ingredient

Directed by Dror Shostak Israel/India 2013 Documentary 65 min Hebrew, English

Uri and Neta, the owners of Indian restaurant 24 Rupee in Tel Aviv, decide to travel to India in search of the "Secret Ingredient" in Indian food. Joining them in this midlife journey are Lilach, a photographer, and Dror who will be filming the whole journey.

This simple search for the secret ingredient in Indian food, leads them to encounters and experiences that only magical India can provide. They meet with two of the greatest spiritual teachers in the world, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and Mata Amritanandamayi (the hugging Amma), as well as other special international spiritual personas.

The journey transforms itself to a surprising life adventure for all of them, with the appearance of repressed memories, old wounds of betrayals, sexual identities, marriage, death and even madness, and becomes a search for the secret ingredient in life itself.

Wednesday 23 October - 4pm


Directed by Prashant Vanjani India 2013 Short 17 min Hindi (English subtitles)

A fugitive man takes refuge in a nondescript lodge, and doesn't step out for a few days. In his thoughts, dreams, and hallucinations, the presence of another man is felt, who seems like the person expected to hunt him down. Does this other man arrive one morning?

Based on "The Waiting", a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

Absolute Value

Directed by Farzaneh Sharifzadeh Iran 2013 Short 15 min Persian (English subtitles)

A bankrupt industrialist is forced to sell his house and factory, but a large portion of debt remains. The man is desperate and spends his last hours of freedom, but his wife is in a spiritual limbo around these events. She wants her husband to keep wholeheartedly. In the last hours, the woman makes an unusual act that in the absolute value of this disaster (no judgments about right and wrong ...) and commits suicide.

The Beat World

Directed by NHP Abdul Halim India 2013 Music 5:27 min

A farmer plays a clay pot during his free time. A ghatam, an ancient musical instrument made of clay, was used in the video.

This music video by NHP Abdul Halim, a world record holder as a percussionist, shows him playing ghatam from India, djembe from West Africa, kanjira from Arabia, and violin from Europe, plus coconut shells and a tea cups, using percussion ensemble, South Indian music, and folk music styles.

Before the Car Arrives

Directed by Brian Stynes Ireland 2013 Short 12 min English

A single-shot, fly-on-the-wall look as a family prepares for their youngest child's big day.

Maria ki Behen Jen

Directed by Vilas Karekar India 2013 Short 10:30 min Hindi (English subtitles)

The charactor Prabha goes to purchase flowers from a florist shop. She introduces herself to the sales girl Jen, and they become friends. Jen shares her thoughts with Prabha, and one day Prabha gets a shock listening over the phone about her family drama. She goes to the florist shop to inquire about her, and realises many things which emotionally she had heard. A story related to deep human emotional personal experience.

Songs in Oblivion

Directed by Samrat Chakraborty India 2013 Spiritual 36 min Bengali and English (English subtitles)

The story of this film is based on a traditional folk song Kirtan of the Nadia District of Bengal, with a relation to Chaitanyadev, who was the creator of this song in Nadia. Usually in the past he used his music as a social weapon of mass communication.

The narrative follows its journey in this post-modern era, as the Gouriya Vaishnab community of Nadia has isolated this Kirtan in the four walls of ethnicity, as on another side some professional Vaishnab Kirtan singers have taken up this song as their means of livelihood. In short the Kirtan has consumerized in today.

This movie has tried to capture an another aspect that how a revolutionary person has been lost in the darkness of Lord Krishna incarnation.


Directed by Pema Dhondup US 2013 Drama 27 min English India premiere

Tapey is a young Tibetan-American living in Los Angeles. His family has a history of being martyrs for Tibet’s struggle. In order to save his Tibetan-Muslim friend Yusuf and his girl friend Lhamo from falling into a Chinese government trap that would make the world think Tibetans are turning to terrorism, Tapey chooses the path his father took many years ago: Letting the enemy know that they are wrong.

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