19th Dhaka International Film Festival begins

Tanzil Rahaman | Published at 10:58pm on January 16, 2021

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Artistes of dance troupe Spandan present a dance recital at the Main Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum on Saturday. — Sourav Lasker

The 19th Dhaka International Film Festival began on Saturday with the screening of Suzanne Lindon-directed French film Spring Blossom.

The inaugural ceremony of the event was held at the Main Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen inaugurated the event as chief guest. Indian high commissioner Vikram K Doraiswami was present as special guest and festival patron M Hamid was present as guest at the programme, which was presided over by Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Hoque.

Festival director of Dhaka International Film Festival Ahmed Muztaba Zamal presented the key note speech.

The guests and audience observed one minute silence in memory of the filmmakers and intellectuals who died of COVID-19.

‘Dhaka International Film Festival is a flagship event in the domain of films. I am happy to see that the festival is becoming a high platform gradually. This is a great event for gathering and presenting creative minds in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this event people will know and learn about culture, society, tradition and beliefs of other countries,’ said Abdul Momen.

‘My heartiest congratulations to the organisers for hosting the film festival in Dhaka.  The festival will give a boost to our film industry. I wish the festival all the success,’ Abdul Momen added.

‘I thank all for attending the inaugural ceremony of the festival. We have been organising the festival for the last 28 years. As we do not have any permanent festival venue, we have to screen films in different venues in the capital including Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh National Museum, Sufia Kamal National Public Library and others. The new segments of the festival Legendary Leaders Who Changed The World and Tribute will take the event to new heights,’ said Ahmed Muztaba Zamal.

‘We will also screen films in an open space at the Nadan Mancha of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy for the first time. I hope people will enjoy it,’ Ahmed Muztaba Zamal added.

‘We were confused about whether we would be able to organise the festival amid the COVID-19 crisis. I am happy because the festival is taking place and all the credit goes to Ahmed Muztaba Zamal. Eight Bangladeshi full length feature films will be screened at the festival. All the film festivals across the globe are being held online but we have organised the festival at venues. We will also screen some films online,’ said M Hamid.

Besides, Bangladesh Shilpkala Academy dance artistes, BSA child dance artistes and artistes of dance troupe Spandan presented dance recitals to the delight of the audience.

The event titled Dhaka International Film Festival 2021 is featuring 225 films from 73 countries. Films are being screened at venues namely the Main Auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of the Sufia Kamal National Public Library, National Art Gallery Auditorium, Music and Dance Centre Auditorium and Nandan Mancha of the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and branches of Star Cineplex. Besides, films will be screened on streaming platform Lagvelki.

The films are being screened under segments namely Asian Cinema Competition Section, Legendary Leaders who Changed the World, Tribute, Retrospective, Bangladesh Panorama Showcase, Cinema of the World Section, Children Films Section, Women, Filmmakers Section, Short and Independent Films Section and Spiritual Films Section.

The event is also featuring ancillary events such as the Seventh Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema 2021 on January 17 and January 18, West Meets East on January 19 and others.

The jury for Asian Film Competition Section includes art and film critic Moinuddin Khaled, actress Rokeya Prachy and actor Ferdous Ahmed.

Interfaith jury for Spiritual Films Section comprises Bulbul Augustine Rebeiro, actress Bonna Mirza and filmmaker Chaitali Somadder.

The jury for Women Filmmakers Section includes actress Wahida Mollick Jolly, actress Arifa parvin Zaman Moushami and assistant professor Shahanara F Chowdhury.

The FIPRESCI Jury – cultural activist A M Mamunur Rashid, film critic and journalist Ershad Komal Khan and film critic, screen writer and journalist Sadia Khalid – will select the best film in Bangladesh Panorama Showcase featuring eight films.

Rainbow Film Society has been organising Dhaka International Film Festival since 1992 with the theme ‘better film, better audience, better society.’

DIFF 2021 will end on January 24.