Self-taught filmmaker Ajitpal Singh’s debut Hindi feature, Fire In The Mountains which had its Australian premiere at the 12th Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) won the top award of ‘Best Indie Film’. Apart from being the Closing Film, the film was also nominated in three categories- Best Indie Film, Best Director and Best Actress (Vinamrata Rai) at the festival which was held in a hybrid way in August. Fire in the Mountains had its World Premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival 2021 as the only film selected from South Asia among 10 films in the ‘World Cinema Dramatic Competition.’
Since its premiere at Sundance earlier this year, the film has travelled to over 20 noted international film festivals and won 8 awards so far including Audience award for Best Film at 19th Indian film Festival of Los Angeles, Best Film at Ouray International Film Festival, Silver Lady Harimaguada for 2nd Best Film & Best Actor (Chandan Bisht) at 20th Las Palmas De Gran Canaria International Film Festival, Best Director at New York Indian Film Festival 2021.
Earlier titled Swizerland, the film won two awards, ‘Prasad Lab DI’ and ‘Moviebuff Appreciation’ for the best WIP project at 2019 Film Bazaar’s Work-In-Progress Lab. It was also part of NFDC Screenwriters Lab 2018-19 and Marche Du Film 2020’s, Goes to Cannes Section.
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Excited about winning the Best Indie Film at IFFM, the self-taught filmmaker Ajitpal Singh who is currently busy in the post-production of his upcoming web series set in Punjab says, “We had our Australian premiere at the IFFM and it feels great to win the Best Indie Film, our eighth award. It’s heart-warming to see Fire in the Mountains travelling across the world and earning love.”
The 82-minute intense family drama about a mother who toils to save money to build a road in a remote Himalayan village to take her wheelchair-bound son for physiotherapy but her husband believes that a shamanic ritual (Jagar) is the remedy, steals her savings stars Vinamrata Rai, Chandan Bisht and Sonal Jha, and first time young actors from Uttarakhand, Harshita Tewari and Mayank Singh Jaira.
The Jar Pictures production, Fire In The Mountains is produced by Ajay Rai and Alan McAlex and co-produced by Mauli Singh and Amit Mehta.
Artists from several countries have collaborated on the film which includes the veteran French DOP Dominique Colin (who collaborated with many auteur filmmakers including Gaspar Noë and Cédric Klapisch) who shot the film, Simon Price from New Zealand edited the film along with Parikshhit Jha, and the music is composed by Arnaud van Vliet of South Africa. The Indian crew includes the production designer Mausam Aggarwal, sound recordist Kanishk Bhoklay, sound designer Mohandas VP, costume designer Karishma Vyas and casting director Taran Bajaj. Additional dialogues are written by Uttarakhand based actor-writer Sudarshan Juyal.