“Hortal”, a political docu-drama directed by young filmmaker Gaushey Shahariar, has been adjudged “Best Film” at the 6th International Inter-University Short Film Festival organised by Dhaka University, the biggest student film festival in Bangladesh.
The story builds on the mass arrest of opposition leaders in May 2012 and the strikes that followed, but then takes a detour from the main context and wittily deploys satire and humour to portray life on the day of a strike and the journey of three journalists.
The film uses mixed media in visual storytelling and has an animated sequence interwoven with the story. The narrative is documentary-style, based on elements of powerful drama. The film progresses in real time, telling the story of a single day, and features interviews of pedestrians on the day of a hortal.
The film was produced by Parrot In Motion in association with script writing label Poorman's Wheel and animation house Prohelica, and was supported by The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank through the “Celebrating Life” programme. Ashiqur Rahman is the cinematographer of the film. Amitabh Reza was the consulting director; his production house Half Stop Down provided production support.
“Hortal” is scheduled to tour the Indian festival circuit next year.
Gaushey is a promising director. “Hortal”, and another of his films “Pizzassin” -- an animated fiction -- were screened at Second Imphal International Short Film Festival (the biggest event of its kind in North East India) in March.
Gaushey is currently working on the production of his first feature film, “The Quest of Mostofa”. The film is the first animated western genre film set in Bangladesh's Liberation War.