Dharamshala: Kosovo feature film entry 'Agnus Dei', directed by Agim Sopi in Albanian with English subtitles, was adjudged as the best picture at the 10th Free Spirit Film Festival which concluded at Mecleodganj, in Dharamshala. Sudeep Ranjan Sarkar was declared the best director for his feature film 'Umformung: The Transformation', an Indian entry at the festival in Hindi.
"Free Spirit Film Festival is an annual event being held since 2004 in McLeodganj, which honours and promotes independent filmmakers from around the world," Lobsang Wangyal, the organiser, said.
During this year's festival, which began on October 25, all 30 films were screened at Tibetan Day School, McLeodganj and 13 award winner films were announced at the closing ceremony.
The fugitive whistle blower Edward Snowden in absentia was conferred the Free Spirit Award 2014. "Mr Snowden, who is in temporary asylum in Russia due to cancellation of his passport by the US, was unable to be here in person to receive it," said Wangyal.
"The Free Spirit Award 2014 is being given to Edward Snowden for letting us all know about extensive worldwide surveillance by the government of the United States, with its accompanying destruction of the basic human right of privacy." An Australian feature film in English 'Eight' directed by Peter Blackburn was adjudged as best screenplay.
Israeli-German documentary film 'Kyrie' in English directed by Holger Klussmann picked up the best cinematography award. The Tibetan-Canadian documentary film 'Plundering Tibet' by Michael Buckley was announced as the best documentary film at the award ceremony.
A film from Israel, 'The Visit' directed by Inbar Horesh in Hebrew/Arabic/Russian with English subtitles was handed the best short film award.
French short film entry 'Tete-a-Tete: Head to Head' directed by Lisa Reznik bagged the best editing award. The best music award was taken by the Hindi feature film 'Umformung: The Transformation'.
For best art direction, the jury awarded the Peru-Turkish short film entry 'Dimensions' directed by Okan Caliskan. Silent fantasy film 'An Admirer's Gift' by Indian filmmaker Nikhil was given the best original concept award.
The film festival opened with the India premiere of 'Plundering Tibet', which is a personal take on mining in Tibet. The documentary shows the dire consequences of China's ruthless mining in Tibet.