Film buffs expressed their love on social media after watching the premiere screening at Sundance Film Festival 2021. Andrew Kendell tweeted, “FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS is a tender and melancholy elegy. Ajipal Singh is good at mining every-day moments to dramatic effect. These people feel real and sad and lived-in to devastating effects.”
Held online, the World Premiere was followed by an engaging Q & A zoom session with debutant filmmaker Ajitpal Singh, lead actors, Vinamrata Rai and Chandan Bisht, cinematographer Dominique Colin, editor Simon Price and co-producer Mauli Singh who were joined by sound designer Mohandas VP, actor Sonal Jha, casting director Taran Bajaj,costume designer Karishma Apoorva Vyas, and first AD Himanshu Singh towards the end. The Q & A was moderated by Sundance Film programmer Dilicia Barrera.
Followed by the world premiere, a Satellite Screening of the film organised was held at the historic Starlite Drive-in Wichita.
The self-taught filmmaker and writer-director of the FITM says, “I have waited for this day for a decade. I started dreaming of making films when my first script was selected at Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2012. It has been a long journey but I am really happy to premiere my first feature at Sundance Film Festival. I am grateful to Sundance Institute for being a constant support and motivation.” He also added, “I feel like a father today who sends their child out in the world. With a heart full of love and wishes, I am ready to say goodbye to my film and hope it goes far and touches people’s hearts along the way.”
‘Fire in the Mountains’ is the only film from Indian and South Asia to be competing among 10 films in the ‘World Cinema Dramatic Competition’. This 82-minute family drama is 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 who believes that a shamanic ritual (Jagar) is the remedy, steals her savings.
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.
Earlier titled ‘Switzerland’, 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.