The 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) opens today with the screening of Una Ventana Al Mar (Window to the Sea), directed by Miguel Angel Jimenez, at Bangladesh National Museum (BNM). Rainbow Film Society has been organising the festival since 1992, with the theme ‘Better Film, Better Audience and Better Society’. Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen will attend this year’s opening ceremony as the chief guest, while State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, the chief patron of the DIFF, will preside over the programme. A cultural event will be held before the screening of the opening film.
Earlier this week, during a press conference held at Dhaka Club’s Samson H Chowdhury Lounge, the organisers officially announced the dates and details of the festival. Festival Director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal stated that 220 films from 74 countries will be screened this year, across BNM, National Public Library, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA), Alliance Française de Dhaka (AFD), Madhumita Cinema Hall and Star Cineplex.
Film tickets at BNM and Central Public Library are BDT 50, while shows at BSA and AFD are free. Students can watch the films for free upon showing their valid ID cards. However, ticket prices at Star Cineplex and Modhumita Cinema Hall are set by their authorities. “We have 26 films in DCP format, which can only be screened at Star Cineplex. This year, we managed a 4K projector and two more projectors sponsored by Jazz Multimedia,” said Ahmed Muztaba Zamal. “However, we still lack a fully equipped festival zone. Most international film festivals have a fixed venue with the required equipment for screenings. We hope that in the near future, we will have one too.”
The press conference was also attended by executive committee members M Hamid, Mofidul Haque and Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, along with Kishwar Kamal, Chairperson of the DIFF and Iranian filmmaker Zohreh Zamani, Head Programmer of the festival.
The jury board of the DIFF features Polish filmmaker Joanna Kos-Krauze, prominent Bangladeshi filmmakers Mostafa Sarwar Farooki and Nargis Akhter, renowned singer Maqsoodul Haque, Australian docu-filmmaker and human rights activist Robyn Hughan and several other notable film personalities from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Italy, Spain, Kosovo, Canada, Russia and Iran.
The films will be screened in eight sections, including Asian Competition, Retrospective, Cinema of the World, Children’s Films, Spiritual Films, Women’s Films, Short and Independent Films and Bangladesh Panaroma.
This year, the Retrospective section features four films by Polish director duo Joanna Kos-Krauzey and Krysztof Krauze. Bangladesh Panaroma, a section for local films, offers eight films — Amra Ekta Cinema Banabo, Mayaboti, Shuttle Train, Chandrabati Kotha, Tunes of Nostalgia, Maya - The Lost Mother, Nigrohokal and No Dorai. One film from among the eight will be awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics jury.
Rainbow Film Society will also host the ‘Sixth International Women Filmmakers Conference’, a two-day event, starting from tomorrow. Female filmmakers, actors and several other notable personalities from all over the world will participate in the conference, along with BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq, at Dhaka Club’s Samson H Chowdhury Lounge. A daylong programme, ‘West Meets East’, will also be held on January 14 at the same venue.
The DIFF 2020 will conclude on January 19. For more information about the event, visit www.dhakafilmfestival.org.