A CHAT WITH ABU SHAHED EMON | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 12, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 12, 2015

A CHAT WITH ABU SHAHED EMON

Abu Shahed Emon is a Bangladeshi film director, writer and editor, who came into the limelight through his movie “Jalal'er Golpo”. In this interview, we speak with the talented young director to know more about his life, inspirations and his future projects.

How did you come into the world of film making?    
It's an interesting story really since I did my bachelors in psychology from Dhaka University. During my DU days, I got involved with the DU film club where my interest in films started. I always found myself thinking about films and from those thoughts it became a desire to learn about film making and the many aspects of films. I wrote a proposal for a semester-long exchange programme to the USA to study the “application of psychology in film”. I was awarded that and studied at the University of Wisconsin where I took courses on film only. That exacerbated the will to learn and I was looking for another opportunity. As luck would have it, I got an opportunity to work with Mr. Tareque Masud on the “Runway” movie project. His intensity and thoroughness transformed my idea about film making in every aspect. This influenced me immensely and pushed me towards applying for the endeavour scholarship in Australia. Luckily, I received it and went for my studies at Sydney film school and RMIT. After the professional vocational training, I received another opportunity to do my masters in film directing at the Korean National University of Arts in South Korea.

What led you to decide on studying so much? Do you plan on teaching film making?
I don't plan on shifting to teaching, but rather I want to live with films and make films with basic emotions of human life and the studying allows me to make interesting and unique films. Another fun thing is I get to work with bizarre and experimental subjects through film making and it results in me having to make many films with university funding and study on a topic I'm passionate about, hence it's an amazing opportunity for me. I may even decide on doing a doctorate as long as it allows me to pursue my passion and I will get to keep making films for another 4 years.

So let's hear about “Jalal Er Golpo” and how it came into being.
It's interesting actually as “Jalal Er Golpo” did not start out as it is. It was first called “Jalal Er Pitagon” but halfway through making it, I found myself reflecting on whether the story was on the fathers or on Jalal himself, and there I decided that the story belonged to Jalal. The inspiration came from when I was studying at Sydney Film School and wrote a piece on human identity crisis as part of my thesis film project. Since I was a foreign student there, I observed and experienced how most foreign students go through a form of identity crisis when faced with the struggles in a completely unfamiliar setting, and after that realization, I decided to write out a basic plotline that ultimately took shape as “Jalal Er Golpo”.

We hear that your films have been screened at International Film Festivals. Any noteworthy performances the fans should know about?
I was astounded at how “Jalal Er Golpo” performed and I honestly did not expect such a reception. “Jalal Er Golpo” has won the Best Film Award among almost 2,200 films at the Avanca International Film Festival in Portugal where Mosharraf Karim also won the Best Actor Award. I was also awarded Best Debutante Director at the Jaipur International Film Festival. The Busan Film Festival also appreciated “Jalal Er Golpo” a lot and I have received much technical support from the studios due to the reception of “Jalal Er Golpo” there.

What will be your next project?
I plan on taking on my next project after finishing my studies in South Korea. After releasing “Jalal Er Golpo”, I will be going back to my studies, which will be hopefully finished this December. After my graduation exhibition in February, I plan to come back and finish either one of two running projects of mine. I can only disclose the titles at the moment which are, “A Beneficiary of Death” and “A Tale of a Policeman”. I hope the fans will like my work and support my films by understanding the theme I hope to put up to them.

By Mohaiminul Islam

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