Foreign minister urges for films depicting Rohingya crisis


Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said filmmakers from all over the world should make more films on the Rohingya issue, shedding light on the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the refugee camps dotted around Cox’s Bazaar, reports UNB.

“There should be films on this international crisis, so the world can acknowledge the truth and help solving the issue,” he said adding that there should also be films made on Bangladeshi immigrants and their livelihood on other parts of the world.

Momen was addressing as the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of 18th Dhaka International Film Festival at Bangladesh National Museum’s main auditorium on Saturday afternoon.

Regarding the government’s initiative on saving the film industry of Bangladesh, the minister said there will be cinema halls in all 64 districts, covering the whole country.

“Our talented Bangladeshi filmmakers should get more opportunities in the global film market, and through this international festival I hope that market would be more available and welcoming to them,” the minister expressed his hope.

Chief patron of the festival and state minister for the foreign ministry Shahriar Alam announced that the 19th edition of this renowned film festival would be dedicated to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, marking the ‘Mujib Year’.

He also asked advice from the participating film scholars regarding the preparation.

The inauguration ceremony was also joined by the organiser Rainbow Film Society’s president and festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, vice president and EC member Mokammel Hossain, Polish filmmaker and Jury board member of Asian Films Competition Section, Joanna Kos-Krauze and others.

After the inauguration, the festival commenced with the film Una Ventana Al Mar (Window to the Sea), directed by Miguel Angel Jimenez. The film is a co-production of Spain and Greece.

With the slogan of ‘Better Film, Better Audience, Better Society’- the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival will screen about 220 films, with participation from 74 countries in competitive categories including “Asian Cinema,” “Retrospective,” “Bangladesh Panorama,” “Cinema of the World,” “Children’s Films,” “Spiritual Films,” “Women Filmmakers ” and “Short and Independent Films” categories.

The film screenings will be held at the Bangladesh National Museum’s main auditorium and Sufia Kamal auditorium, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy’s National Music and Dance auditorium and National Art Gallery, Central Public Library’s Shawkat Osman auditorium, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka auditorium and two of the renowned cinema halls in the capital -- Madhumita cinema hall and Star Cineplex’s Bashundhara City and Shimanto Shambhar branches.

Organisers Rainbow Film Society will also be hosting a two-day ‘Sixth International Women Filmmakers Conference’ from Sunday (12 January) where women filmmakers, actors and personalities from all over the world will take part, along with BGMEA president Rubana Huq at Dhaka Club’s Samson H Chowdhury Lounge.

A day-long programme ‘WEST MEETS EAST’ will also be held on 14 January at the same venue.

Another very important segment that this year’s festival is arranging is the Children’s Film Section, where films related to children will be screened free of cost every day from 10:00am to 3:00pm. A special arrangement has been made for the underprivileged children to enjoy the films.

Students with valid identity cards will be allowed to watch films for free at the 10:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm shows. Except for the cinema halls, attendance for regular audiences will also be free at most of the venues. Screenings at the main gallery of National Museum and Public Library’s Shawkat Osman auditorium, however, will cost Tk. 50.

Bangladesh Panorama section will give the prestigious International Film Critics Federation (FIPRESCI) critics’ award for Best Film.

This year’s festival will conclude on 19 January.