Unsatisfactory turnout: Observations by local participants | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 18, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 18, 2008

10th Dhaka International Film Festival

Unsatisfactory turnout: Observations by local participants

Tareque Masud, Tauquir Ahmed and Samia Zaman

A total of nine Bangladeshi movies have participated at the 10th Dhaka International Film Festival. Four Bangladeshi movies -- Ghani directed by Kazi Morshed, Rupkathar Galpo directed by Tauquir Ahmed, Mad_e in Bangladesh directed by Mostafa Sarwar Farooki and Nacholer Rani directed by Wahiduzzaman Diamond -- were screened in the 'Australasian Competition' section. Four were screened in the 'Bangladesh Panorama' section. The films are: Ontorjatra directed by Tareque Masud, Rani Kuthir Baki Itihash by Samia Zaman, Ek Khando Jomi by Shahjahan Chowdhury and Shyamal Chhaya by Humayun Ahmed. Moreover, Badal Rahman's movie Emile-er Goenda Bahini will be screened today at the 'Children Film' section.
Most of these directors have attended the festival several times. But, many of them are not satisfied with the arrangement of the 10th Dhaka International Film Festival.
Director-actor Tauquir Ahmed said, “I attended at the inaugural programme. I've also attended a 'meet the press' session and watched movies from other countries. But, I did not like this year's arrangement.”
Why did the film festival fail to attract a larger audience? Director of Rani Kuthir Baki Itihash, Samia Zaman, who also attended the festival several times, said that this year's festival was not like the previous arrangements. She said, “I was excited when I was introduced at an international film festival as a director but was later disappointed by the small turnout. I believe there are two major reasons behind this: restrictions created by the Bangladesh Film Censor Board and lack of interest among the university students, who form a major share of the audience at film festivals. I think the students are preoccupied with the ongoing movement at the Dhaka University campus.”
Director of Ontorjatra, Tareq Masud analysed the issue from a different angle. He said, “Bureaucratic non-cooperation in cultural activities is a familiar phenomenon in Bangladesh. These bureaucratic tangles would not be imposed if the film activists were united. I see a strong division amongst the film activists. If it continues no festival in Bangladesh will be able to get international recognition. I think the film activists should work together and the government should play a supportive role in arranging an international standard festival, which will help create a positive image of the country.”

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