Oggatonama to represent Bangladesh at Oscars

Tauquir Ahmed's “Oggatonama” (English title “The Unnamed”), riding high on the critical success at film festivals across the world, has been nominated as Bangladesh's entry to the 89th Academy Awards (known better as the Oscars) in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Bangladesh Federation of Film Societies (BFFS), the organisation that selects the film to compete for one of the biggest global film awards, made the announcement in a press conference in the city yesterday.

A nine-member committee formed sought entries from filmmakers by September 21, with four films vying for the honour: Meher Afroz Shaon's “Krishnopokkho”, Suman Dhar's “Darpan Bishorjon”, “Oggatonama” – all produced by Impress Telefilm, and Rubaiyat Ahmed's “Under Construction”, by Khona Talkies.

In his instant reaction to the nomination, Tauquir told The Daily Star: “It is of great honour for me that 'Oggyatonama' has been nominated for the Academy Awards. The film has a humane story that has touched people's heart. We do not have enough resources to make films to compete in the main competition; we work through various limitations. But I hope one day, if not us then filmmakers from our next generation will make films that will be in the final contention for the award.”

With a strong cast featuring Shahiduzzaman Selim, Fazlur Rahman Babu, Mosharraf Karim, Shatabdi Wadud and Nipun -- among others, the film portrays the social reality of expatriate workers from Bangladesh. The film premiered at the Marche du Film (film market) of Cannes Film Festival this year, won the Jury Mention at the Gulf of Naples Independent Film Festival (Italy), Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Goddess on the Throne Film Festival (Kosovo), and Best Director at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival.

The Academy for the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) invites entries from all countries for the Best Foreign Language Film every year, for films produced outside the US with predominantly non-English dialogues released between October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016. A primary committee consisting members from the Los Angeles-based Academy then shortlists nine films, from which it is narrowed down to five, which then compete for the prize. Last year, Hungarian film “Son of Saul” bagged the award, while Bangladesh's nomination, Abu Shahed Emon's “Jalal'er Golpo” failed to make the short-list. Bangladesh has been submitting films to the Awards for the past 11 years, but no film has yet been nominated in the final list.


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