Today marks International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. On the occasion, we bring you stories of individuals from the indigenous community of Bangladesh, who are making a mark in their respective fields.
Aung Rakhine flaunts his identity as an indigenous filmmaker. The cinematographer turned director made his breakthrough with a full length film in Chakma language, Mwor Theng Gaari or My Bicycle in 2015. The indomitable director took the film to global platforms, and received Best Screenplay at the Silver Azkubat Ethnic Cinema Festival 2016 in Ufa, Russia. It also received an honourable mention in the Cine Kurumin - International Indigenous Film Festival 2016, Brazil.
“No one else has the reason to come and tell my story, but me. It is my responsibility and commitment to my community to showcase these stories,” says Aung Rakhine. His unconventional approach in storytelling sets him apart from his fellow filmmakers. Harbouring a keen interest on telling indigenous stories, Aung says, “You don’t get to see or hear these stories that much. I intend to bring them out with my works. My next story is based on the Mro community, and the rivers.”
Aung’s 17 minute short film The Last Post Office was premiered at the Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors section, and participated at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. Itcontinues to receive invitation from prestigious global competitions.
When Aung began working on indigenous stories, he did think there would be more filmmakers from the indigenous community; however, the number is not significant. “Without rugged determination, it is very easy to get baffled and lost in this medium. But I also believe if you can strive and withstand the first blow, you can make it to the top,” says a hopeful Aung.