Eye on the motherland
Documentaries effectively protest the injustices and social anomalies, thus possessing a powerful role to assess the development of a country. Celebrating this power to generate public awareness, a four-day documentary film festival began in the city on April 16.
Titled "Documenting Bangladesh 3," the festival features films that see Bangladesh from different perspectives. The festival has been organised by Bangladesh Documentary Council. A total of 40 documentary films are being screened at the festival being held at Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium and Seminar Hall of Central Public Library. This is the third film festival organised by the council. Manusher Jonnyo Foundation and Oxfam GB are sponsors of the event. Step Towards Development, Aktel, Standard Bank Ltd., Singer Bangladesh LTD., United Airways and Mustak Ahmed have also sponsored the festival.
National Professor Kabir Chowdhury, one of the initiators of Bangladesh Chalachchitra Shangshad movement, inaugurated the festival. Filmmaker Manzare Hasin Murad, adviser, Bangladesh Documentary Council; Fauzia Khan, president of the council and Farhana Hafiz, programme officer of Oxfam GB were also present at the inauguration. Anwar Chowdhury, festival director and general secretary of Bangladesh Documentary Council, presented the welcome speech.
In his inaugural speech Kabir Chowdhury noted, "Among the different genres of films, documentary holds a special place. Its significance is recognised worldwide. In a country where people often indulge into forgetting history, documentaries can play an important role in generating awareness in our past."
"While the authenticity of information provided in a documentary is of utmost importance, the filmmaker's responsibility is to present that in an artistic way," he added.
Noted cinematographer Maksudul Bari was given a lifetime achievement award at the event by the council. Manzare Hasin Murad spoke on the awardee. A leading cinematographer of the country, Bari, has worked in acclaimed films like "Agami," "Aandhiar," "Amader Chhelera" and more. Bari continues to work behind the camera with absolute sincerity and commitment. Always eager to work with the talented upcoming directors, Bari dedicated his award to the young who are involved in filmmaking.
Films are being screened at the festival in three categories -- general screening, competition for filmmakers, and competition for film students. The third category has been introduced this year to inspire young filmmakers who are studying the medium at universities or film institutes. Best films from these two competitions will receive the Bangladesh Documentary Award 2009 at the closing ceremony. Manzare Hasin Murad, Mainul Huda, Khurshid Anam, Mafidul Haque, Maksudul Bari, Nargis Jahan Banu, Shabnam Ferdousi and Shamim Reza are in the jury board overseeing the selection and competition.
"Frozen Tears," a 16-minute documentary on the Mirpur Jalladkhana genocide by Polash, Tanvir, Laki, Meherun and Faiz; "Urai Moner Ghuri" by Lutfun Nahar Moushumi and "Rupantorer Rupkotha" by Tasmiah Afrin Mou were selected from the three categories to be screened at the inaugural programme.
On the second day (yesterday) of the festival, premiere of a documentary on veteran activist Hena Das, titled "Abhjatri," was held. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury was present as the chief guest at the event, while eminent litterateur Professor Hasan Azizul Haque was the special guest.
Besides screening films, seminars and round tables are also parts of the festival. "Documenting Bangladesh 3" ends on April 19.