The five-day European Film Festival has kicked off with a list of Bangladeshi and European films. The festival began with the screening of Dutch film ‘Mally Can Fly’ at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy's national theater hall in Dhaka on Sunday, 17 September evening.
There will be screenings at Alliance Francaise, Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka University’s Modern Language Institute and Dutch Club in Dhaka till 23 September. Outside of Dhaka, there will also be screenings at Khulna University, Varendra University in Rajshahi and Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University in Mymensingh.
The festival has been organised by Delegation of European Union to Bangladesh with the support of Prothom Alo. While speaking at the opening ceremony Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman said, “I heartily thank the Delegation of European Union to Bangladesh for taking up such an excellent initiative. I thank everyone including the Shilpakala Academy, Goethe Institute Bangladesh and British Council Bangladesh.”
Earlier, Prothom Alo executive editor and poet Sajjad Sharif, filmmaker Amitabh Reza, activist Simin Ibnat Dharitree joined a discussion titled 'Youth in Cinema'. Charles Whiteley, ambassador and head of delegation at Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh moderated the session.
Reflecting on Bangladeshi films, Sajjad Sharif said, “Our young directors are searching for new languages, they are highlighting new experiences from the society. Various obstacles in the way of freedom in creative expression are now the biggest obstacle before them. If this obstacle can be removed, they are actually eager to change our cinema.”
Maker of the film ‘Aynabaji’, Amitabh Reza expressed his frustration about cinema. Cinema is dead now, he claimed with accusations of cinemas made on government grant being plagued with corruption and there being no order.
Activist Simin Ibnat Dharitree said, “We do watch European films as well. But, Bangladeshi films represent our own culture and perspective. So, we have always encouraged Bangladeshi films.”
“Especially, cinema has quite an extensive influence in the life of the youth. So apart from entertainment, movies can be useful for intellectual practice and raising social awareness also,” she added.
Earlier the European Film Festival authority organised a ‘master-class’ session with young filmmakers to enrich the diversity of European and Bangladeshi culture through creativity. Directors Amitabh Reza, Piplu R Khan, Syeda Neegar Banu and cinematographer Apu Rozario joined the master-class held at British Council premises in Dhaka on Friday and Saturday.
Ambassador and head of delegation at Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley and Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman honoured them during the opening ceremony on Sunday. All of them except Piplu R Khan were present there.
As part of the European Film Festival, a short film competition had been organised. Young directors from around the country submitted their films in the competition. Winners were awarded in three different categories on Sunday.
Short film ‘Passenger’, directed by Mostafa Monowar won the award for best story. For directing short film ‘Ashlesha’, Akib Mahmud received the award of best director while, Mehedi Josef’s short film ‘Poster’ has been chosen the best film.
Ambassador and head of delegation at Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, Charles Whiteley, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and Chorki CEO Redoan Rony handed over the awards to the respective winners. The short film ‘poster’ was screened afterwards.
Many including Prothom Alo managing editor and writer Anisul Hoque, Alliance Francaise Dhaka director Francois Grosjean were present at the event. There were stalls of Prothoma publication and streaming platform Chorki in front of the national theatre. The entire event was moderated by Quazi Sabir.