Self-taught filmmaker Ajitpal Singh’s internationally acclaimed debut Hindi feature Fire In The Mountains wins the top award of ‘Best Indie Film’ Award at the 12th Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM)

Apart from being the Closing Film of IFFM 2021, the film was also nominated in three categories- Best Indie, Best Director and Best Actress

The film which had its World Premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival 2021 in World Cinema Dramatic Competition has won 8 awards so far~

Festival teaser:

Mumbai, 20 August 2021: 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.

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.

About Ajitpal Singh

Ajitpal Singh is a self-taught filmmaker living in Mumbai. His debut feature Fire In The Mountains (earlier titled Swizerland) as a writer and director premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2021 in competition. Currently he is finishing the post production of a web series which will be out on a streaming platform in October.

His short film Rammat-Gammat won the ‘Special Mention’ award at the prestigious short film festival of Oberhausen 2018, and after touring over 50 noted international and Indian film festivals including Palm Spring Shorts Fest, Cinekid, MAMI and winning six awards, the short film premiered on Mubi India. His other short film, Hummingbird which also travelled to many international film festivals won a jury award for best short film in France.

Ajitpal’s first screenplay was part of Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2012 where it won the Sundance Grant. His mentors were Oscar winner filmmaker Asif Kapadia (Amy) and Oscar Nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel and 21 Grams), Michael Goldenberg (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), José Rivera (The Motorcycle Diaries), Howard A. Rodman (Savage Grace) and Marcos Bernstein (Oscar nominated Brazilian film Central Station).

His second screenplay (FITM) was selected afor NFDC Screenwriters’ Lab. He was also part of Berlinale Talent Campus and the youngest member of Indian delegation at Munich Film Festival 2009, selected by Goethe Institute.

Ajitpal wrote dialogues for Once Again (available on Netflix), a Germany-India co-production film and worked as an associate director for Gurgaon (available on Netflix) and as an assistant director for Patang (Berlinale 2011).

Born in Punjab, Ajitpal Singh was an 8 years old boy when his father, a farmer and ex-army man, ran a cinema hall in Bathinda which suffered huge losses and was shut down during insurgency in Punjab. His family moved to Ahmedabad where his father took up a job of a security guard. Ajitpal Singh grew up in a ghetto amidst poverty and violence and being a Sikh child, he faced a lot of discrimination due to anti Sikh sentiments at that time.

His greatest passions are writing, reading, cooking, cycling and travelling. After studying chemistry, learning theatre and photography, he chose filmmaking as his calling.

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