With the motto 'Better Film, Better Audience, Better Society', the 17th edition of Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) opens today. It will run till January 18. Rainbow Film Society is organising the festival, with support from a long list of patrons and partners.
The festival will be inaugurated today at the main auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum (BNM) by former finance minister AMA Muhith. The film, The Guest by Turkish filmamaker Andaç Haznedaroğlu will be screened at the opening of the festival.
This year, the festival will have screenings of 218 films from 58 countries under several sections: Asian Competition, Retrospective, Bangladesh Panorama, Cinema of the World, Children's Films, Spiritual Films, Women Filmmakers, and Short and Independent Films. The venues for the screening include the main auditorium and Sufia Kamal auditorium in National Museum, Shawkat Osman Smriti Milanayatan in Central Library, Jatiya Chitrashala in BSA, Alliance Française de Dhaka and Jamuna Blockbuster Cinema.
In a press conference at Dhaka Club yesterday, the organisers gave a brief about the festival. London based programmer for the festival Yesim Guzelpinar, head of programme Zoreh Zamani Khalaflou, actor and jury member for the Asian Film Competition, Ilias Kanchan, festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal and the Programme coordinator Mo Hamid were present at the press briefing.
Ahmed Muztaba Zamal announced that this year, one film from Bangladesh Panorama section will receive the prestigious FIRPRESCI critic award for the Best Film under this category.“This award is prestigious for any filmmaker. We are very happy that one Bangladeshi filmmaker will receive it this year.”
The retrospective section will screen seven films by award-winning Serbian director Goran Paskaljević. Along with film screenings, the festival has arranged conferences for aspiring filmmakers. Advocate Sultana Kamal will inaugurate the 5th International Women Filmmaker Conference to be held at Alliance Française de Dhaka on Jan 11 and 12. This year, the festival will see for the first time an interactive session with the filmmakers titled West Meets East. The session will be held on January 14. 17 Children's films will be screened every day from 10 am to 3 pm, where children will watch the films free of cost. 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 am, 1 pm and 3 pm shows. The regular audience will, however, have to pay 50 taka to watch the films in Shawkat Osman auditorium, Central Library. Besides, interactive session with audience, organisers, filmmakers and producers will take place every day at Central Library area.