19th Dhaka International Film Festival concludes

Tanzil Rahaman | Updated at 11:10pm on January 24, 2021


Fakhrul Arefeen Khan, left, Masud Hasan Ujjal respectively receive Best Audience Award and Best Film Award in Bangladesh Panorama Section at the closing ceremony of 19th Dhaka International Film Festival at the Bangladesh National Museum on Sunday. — Sony Ramany

Kyrgyz film The Road to Eden jointly directed by Bakyt Mukul and Dastan Zhapar Uulu won the Best Film Award in the Asian Film Competition segment at the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival which ended on Sunday at the Main Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum.

Information minister Hasan Mahmud was present as chief guest at the closing ceremony of the festival.

State minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid was present as special guest at the programme which was presided over by state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam, also the chief patron of the festival.

DIFF festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal and executive member of the festival committee M Hamid were also present at the event.

The festival was dedicated to the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The programme commenced with colourful dance performances where dance artistes of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bhabna Nritya Dal, Nandan Kalakendra presented group dance recitals synchronised with popular songs. 

‘The 20th Dhaka International Film Festival will be held from January 15 to January 23, 2022. We are very happy about the audience turnout. It was not so easy to organise this festival in the time of the COVID-19 crisis,’ said Ahmed Muztaba Zamal.

A total of 15 awards were given in different categories at the closing ceremony.

In the Asian Competition segment, the Best Director Award went to director Ksenia Lagutina for the film Farida, an Azerbaijan and Russia joint venture film.

The Best Actress award went to Meruert Subbusinova for Mariam, a Kazakh film, while the Best Actor Award went to Nejat Isler for the Turkish film 9,75. Besides, the Best Cinematography and the Best Script Writer Awards were also given.

Besides, awards in four other segments, namely Bangladesh Panorama Section, Women Filmmakers, Spiritual Films and Children Films were handed over to the winners at the ceremony.

In Bangladesh Panorama Section, Masud Hasan Ujjal-directed local film Unoponchash Batash bagged the Best Film award. The film was selected by a three-member FIPRESCI jury comprising special correspondent of the New Age Ershad Komal Khan, film critic-writer-activist AM Mamunur Rashid and noted screenwriter-film critic Sadia Khalid. The Best Audience Award in the section went to Fakhrul Arefeen Khan directed local film Gondi.

The Best Children Film Badal Rahman Award went to a Russia and Bashkortostan joint venture film Taganok Team directed by Aniur Askarov.

In Women Filmmakers Section, Swedish  film Incidents-Way Home directed by Jessica Lauren won Special Mention in the Short Fiction category while Iranian film Tirishko directed by Shakiba Khaleghi won the Best Short Film Award in the Short Fiction category, a Russia and Syria joint venture film Forbidden Children, directed by Evdokia Moskvina, won the Best Documentary Award. Director Margarida Paiva won the Best Directors Award for the Norway and Italy joint venture film A Robba Gnor.

In the Spiritual Film section, a film from Cyprus titled Senior Citizen bagged the Best Feature Award in the Feature Film category. The film is directed by Marinos Kartikkis. An Iran and Norway joint venture film Sunless Shadows directed by Mehrdad Oskouei won the Best Documentary award in the section.

Rainbow Film Society has been organising the festival since 1992, based on the theme ‘Better film, better audience, better society.’

The event titled Dhaka International Film Festival 2021 featured 226 films from 73 countries. Films were 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 were also screened on streaming platform Lagvelki.

The films were 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 also featured 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.