Aung Rakhine has been a long time film activist and with “My Bicycle”, he has taken his first steps into the world of a filmmaker. His film marks a couple of firsts. He is the first filmmaker from the indigenous Rakhaine community and this film is the first film regarding indigenous communities in Bangladesh. Star Showbiz recently sat down with Aung Rakhine to know more about him and his upcoming film.
1.Was this film based on your society?
No, I belong to the Rakhaine community. This film was shot within and based on the Chakma community.
2.Do you see yourself as a categorical filmmaker or just a filmmaker?
I see myself as a filmmaker first. However, I do want to portray the stories of the indigenous communities of Bangladesh. The reason for that is because you don't get to see or hear their stories often, sometimes not at all. I wish to change that with my works.
3.Have there ever been feature films made regarding indigenous communities?
No. I honestly thought there were, but during production, I found out that no one has ever done anything like this before. I mean sure, there have been documentaries and short films about indigenous people before, but never a full-on professional feature film. This knowledge gave me the motivation and determination to do my absolute best with this film.
4.So the film is completely based on them?
Yes. From the story to the language. I haven't used Bengali language in the film, instead I used Chakma language. You should also know that there were no professional actors involved in this production. All the acting was done by the members of the community, and their performance was amazing.
5.How was it like working with nonprofessional actors?
The one thing I will say about them is that they have a great amount of interest and enthusiasm. During my shoot, they worked with me diligently, professionally and with great courtesy. However, I honestly don't think they have managed to grasp the extent of the production yet. Yes they knew they were acting, they knew it was a production about them but they still don't understand the enormity of this project. They are under the impression that this is some 30min TV drama to be aired on a television channel. They still can't grasp the fact that this is a full-on feature film which may be screened at film festivals around the world.
6.Why do you think no one has ever done a film on them before?
The simple fact is that they have unbelievable potential, if they are nurtured properly and given a chance. But, as there hasn't been much interest on working with them, their talents remained undiscovered. That is why I believe my film is so important. I hope, it can show audiences and other filmmakers their true potential and raise interest into working with them more. If more and more filmmakers join in and work with them, we could be looking at a new movement in Bangladeshi cinemas.
7.What are your future plans?
Well, after this movie, I plan to work with my Rakhaine community and make a film about them. To be honest, that was the whole point of “My Bicycle”. To serve as a learning experience and help pave the way towards my ultimate desire. I also plan to make film about the liberation war but that's all in the pipeline. Let's see how this film goes first.