Wahid Ibn Reza is the only child of freedom fighter and Former State Minister of Bangladesh Rezaul Karim and Advocate Suraya Karim Munny. He has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from BUET and BFA in Film Production from The University of British Columbia, Canada. Wahid joined the Bardel Entertainment animation studio after his graduation, and worked there for a few years. He later joined Moving Picture Company as a project coordinator and worked on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He has also worked on Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Doctor Strange (2016) during his tenure in the Method VFX Studios. Wahid worked with the visual effects teams of Furious 7 (2015), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014) HBO’s Game of Thrones and Angry Birds 2 (2019), among other projects. In 2017, Doctor Strange was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best VFX, which made him a part of an Oscar nominated team. Currently, he is a production manager at Atomic Cartoons Inc in Canada.
Surviving 71, a 2D animated short film about the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh written and directed by Wahid, is currently under production. The teaser of the film was released on March 25, 2019. “We received a hugely positive response for the teaser upon its release, but now, we want it to cross one million views,” says Wahid. “We aim to turn Surviving 71 into a miniseries or a full length feature film, which is next to impossible without international support. If we manage to garner more views for the teaser, it will be easier to convince sponsors to back the project.”
The film, which follows a semi-realistic animation style, is about three captured freedom fighters who reminisce about what brought them to the war as they prepare to face their ultimate demise, getting shot in the back and thrown out of a moving train. The voice cast of the film includes Jaya Ahsan, Meher Afroz Shaon, Tanzir Tuhin, Gousul Alam Shawon, Anik Khan, Samir Ahsan and Wahid himself.
“My father was captured by the Pakistani forces during the war, and two men were shot right in front of him. When they were about to shoot him, he jumped out of a train and survived,” Wahid says. “I just felt that it would make a cinematic survival story.”
He also spoke about the themes that the film touches upon. “Surviving 71 provides a snapshot of the war, structured into three segments. We have focused on the tortures faced by the minority groups and women and the resilience of our people during the war. There is also a segment about the Razakars,” explains Wahid. “The film is a figurative piece. In the teaser, we can see that members of the Pakistani Army are depicted as demon-like beings, which is a metaphor for how terribly they treated our people.”
The team of Surviving 71 is working very hard at the moment, both in Bangladesh and Canada. Wahid hopes to wrap up the production of the film by this year, and present it in film festivals across the world by the beginning of 2021. A song, written by eminent lyricist Sheik Rana and composed and sung by popular artiste Minar Rahman, will be released on March 26, 2021, kicking off the promotions for the film. “Surviving 71 is predominantly for the young audience, to educate them about the history of Bangladesh. We hope that it will spark an interest in people to find out more about the country and the events of 1971,” says Wahid, who looks forward to releasing the film on December 16, 2021, across multiple television channels and streaming platforms. Moreover, Wahid is also working on a children’s web series and his own feature film.
For more updates on Surviving 71, visit: https://www.surviving71.com/