Mahdi Fleifel is a Danish filmmaker of Palestinian origins. Born in Dubai, he was raised in the Ain El-Helweh refugee camp in Lebanon and later in the suburbs of Elsinore, Denmark. He began filmmaking at an early age - a hobby he picked up from his father's obsession with video cameras. Fleifel studied at the NFTS in England under directors Udayan Prasad, Ian Sellar and Stephen Frears. His first-year film, 'Arafat & I', screened in many international festivals and won prizes in Romania, Italy and the Czech Republic. In 2010 Fleifel and Irish producer Patrick Campbell set up the London-based Nakba FilmWorks through which they released Fleifel's autobiographical feature 'A World Not Ours'. Launched at the Toronto Film Festival in 2012, 'A World Not Ours' opened to high critical acclaim. Currently on the festival circuit, the film has received multiple awards in Brussels, Krakow, Reykjavik and Abu Dhabi, and was the recipient of the Peace Film Award at the Berlinale 2013. Fleifel is now preparing his next project at the Cinefondation residence in Paris.
Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni
After completing his Masters in Law Umesh Kulkarni started his filmmaking career as an assistant director with noted filmmakers Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukthankar. He was selected as the only Indian Student for the summer University course in LA Femis, Paris, in 2000 following which he joined the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. His short films 'GIRNI', 'GAARUD', 'THREE OF US' and 'VILAY' got wide acclaim and won many national and international awards. He and his creative partner Girish Kulkarni founded a production company 'Arbhaat Films' and produced 'MASALA' (Spices) in 2012 and co-produced 'PUNE-52' in 2013.
This is a story of two friends in pursuit of escape for a better life. Dhargey and Dorje now in their early twenties have been inseparable friends since childhood. They live in a village near Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. Though extremely different in nature they fit together like missing pieces of a puzzle. Adventurous Dorje proposes that they must leave Tibet at once and escape to Dharamshala, India, for a better, secured life. Dhargey is used to his daring plans. He agrees with equal enthusiasm. And just a night before their escape Dorje announces that he has changed his mind and now does not want to leave his homeland. But he also insists that Dhargey must leave. The unexpected betrayal is intolerable for Dhargey. He spends hours convincing Dorje. But finally the friends part. Hurt, betrayed and confused Dhargey is glad to find a group of people along his way. They all have risked their lives in hope for a better life. The terror of being caught is impeccable. They walk the endless landscape, the grand mountains. They walk through the fear. They walk through the danger. They all just walk and walk. In this endless journey not a day passes when Dhargey has not thought about Dorje. He needs him the most. He needs his courage. He needs his support. After the tiring 30 days they all finally arrive at Dharamshala. A new life waits there. Dhargey is relieved to be finally there. He feels secured. The danger is far away now. The life is about to settle. And dreadful news arrives from Tibet. Dorje is no more. He had joined a group of activists working against Chinese colonization of Tibet. And in the protest he self immolated. In the candle march held in support for the activists at Dharamshala, Dhargey walks quietly with the others, wondering who escaped from what.