‘Highways of Life’ takes top prize in 8th Liberation DocFest

A total of 1800 films were submitted in the 8th DocFest till late March and 200 were selected from the list till last April. Finally, 83 films were screened throughout the five-day festival

‘Highways of Life’ takes top prize in 8th Liberation DocFest
‘Highways of Life’ takes top prize in 8th Liberation DocFestUNB
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South Asia’s first virtual film festival, the "8th Liberation DocFest Bangladesh-2020" concluded on Saturday having drawn a great response from film lovers at home and abroad by providing a breathing space for all amid novel coronavirus pandemic, reports UNB.

The five-day festival, annually organised by the Liberation War Museum, wrapped up with a concluding and award-giving ceremony via Zoom.

The closing ceremony was attended in virtual space by legendary thespian and former cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor MP, liberation war affairs ministry secretary Aminul Islam Khan, International Theatre Institute (ITI) president and noted theatre personality Ramendu Majumdar, cultural personality and Dhaka DocLab chairman Nasiruddin Yusuf Bacchu, media partner United News of Bangladesh’s director Nahar Khan, festival director Tareq Ahmed and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Hoque along with participating filmmakers, jury board members and the organisers.

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"The 8th Liberation DocFest-2020 has generated a new idea on how to consolidate our strength in this unfortunate time of the ongoing global pandemic. This was a tremendous festival organised by the Liberation War Museum with its main focus on our Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as 'Bangabandhu: The Liberator' and other great leaders. I believe when the crisis ends in future, we will meet again and celebrate new ideas and films," Noor said commenting on the festival.

Secretary to the liberation war affairs ministry Aminul Islam Khan appreciated the participants and the organisers from home and abroad. "Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said ‘Nothing can stop us from doing good things.’ This was proven by all the enthusiastic filmmakers, viewers and organisers throughout the festival.”

He said it was a pleasure to see a huge number of young and energetic minds take part in this year’s DocFest showing great enthusiasm for the history of Bangladesh.

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Speakers and organisers expressed their heartiest gratitude to the festival’s organising partner Cosmos Foundation and media partner UNB for their support in both the arrangement and operation of this year's festival.

"It was truly a wonderful opportunity for UNB and Cosmos Foundation to be the media and organising partner of this first-ever virtually hosted film festival in South Asia," said UNB director Nahar Khan, also vice president of Cosmos Group.

"My heartiest congratulations to our magnificent digital team, all the filmmakers, organisers, volunteers and the Liberation War Museum for making this festival such a remarkable success. We are very much looking forward to collaborating the 9th edition as it was an absolutely pleasurable journey this year."

Festival director Tareq Ahmed said that a total of 1800 films were submitted in the 8th DocFest till late March and 200 were selected from the list till last April. And, finally a total of 83 films were screened throughout the five-day festival.

Concluding the ceremony, Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Hoque thanked all participating filmmakers who came with the determination to overcome the challenges amid pandemic through bringing hope in the darkness.

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"Filmmakers from over 50 countries joined in this first-ever virtually hosted film festival in South Asia, which is a very significant achievement for us all. In this unprecedented and unthinkable time of the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19, the festival became an international example that will carry forward the solidarity of the world," he said.

Thanking the Cosmos Foundation and UNB, Hoque said Cosmos Foundation and UNB always come forward to support the Liberation War Museum and because of their tremendous support, the festival became an international standard festival of documentary films.

Hoque also mentioned that the festival was a part of the birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and next year it will be celebrating the 50 years anniversary of Bangladesh's Independence.

Award recipients

Noted Bangladeshi filmmaker Aka Reza Galib, jury member of the National Competition announced ‘Khunti (Road to Roots)’, a Bangladesh-India joint collaboration as the winner in the ‘National Competition’ category. The director of the film, Md Zahirul Hassan, will receive Tk 100,000, a crest and a certificate.

Kim Young Woo (Programmer and chair at the DMZ DOCS festival, South Korea), jury member of the International Competition announced ‘Highways of Life’, a film from India by director Amar Maibam as the winner in the ‘International Competition’ category. Amar will receive US$1,000, a crest and a certificate.

Apart from these two major awards, two Youth Jury Awards were announced in the ceremony. ‘True False & A Revolution’ by Farid Ahmad won the Youth Jury Award in the ‘National Competition’ and ‘BUTTERFLIES IN BERLIN - Diary of a Soul split in two’ by Italian filmmaker Monica Manganelli won as part of the ‘International Competition’ section.

Nepalese filmmaker Subina Shrestha announced ‘GALENA’ by Ezzatollah Parvazeh of Iran as the Special Mention in the ‘International Competition’ category.

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