For the 10th year in a row, Children's Film Society Bangladesh (CFS) has set off the International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh. The festival opens today (January 24) and will continue till January 30 in Dhaka, Rangpur and Rajshahi. Finance Minister AMA Muhith will inaugurate the festival as chief guest at 4pm at Central Public Library, Shahbagh while Cultural Minister Asaduzzaman Noor will be present as special guest. The inaugural ceremony will be presided over by chairman of the Festival Advisory Committee, eminent artist Mustafa Monwar.
Three hundred films from 54 countries will be screened at11 venues countrywide during the festival, which is open to all. Through CFS, children receive opportunities to learn basic filmmaking skills, as well as expose themselves to the culture and tradition of other countries through film. With Muhammad Zafar Iqbal as present president of the organization, CFS is run by a 15- member committee.
“We started the Children's Film Society Bangladesh in 2006, and organised the first Children's Film Festival in 2008,” said Munira Morshed Munni, general secretary of CFS, “We try to create leadership opportunities for our young filmmakers as they have the chance to produce their own films with what they can manage, without the use of fancy technology. The content they focus on is relevant to their own experiences at school, coaching, with friends or at home, but they also tackle pertinent issues concerning our society at large. Since smartphones are widely available now, we are receiving more and more film submissions shot by phones, and therefore it is interesting to witness the changes in filmmaking over the years since we first started.”
Munni emphasised on the necessity for such avenues in order to enrich the lives of the youth and nurture their imaginations and skills, “We live in a society that dictates the lives of children within rigid lines; beyond school and coaching there is no room for any creative outlet. Parents must understand the importance of nurturing hobbies and encouraging children to have multiple activities they enjoy at their disposal. CFS was not started to purely create filmmakers; some of our previous participants have applied their skills in other aspects of their professional lives.”