The Liberation War Museum-produced documentary film 'A Mandolin in Exile' had its world premiere online on Thursday.
Written and directed by Rafiqul Anowar Russell and co-directed by Sujan Bhattacharjee, the film is the first prize-winning project from the 3rd Dhaka DocLab held last year.
United News of Bangladesh (UNB) is the broadcasting and media partner of this documentary film.
Marking the release, a virtual premiering ceremony was held on UNB’s Facebook page and YouTube channel at 8pm on Thursday.
Hosted by UNB’s Senior Correspondent Muhammad Syfullah, the ceremony was joined by Liberation War Museum trustees Mofidul Hoque and Sara Zaker, and documentary director Russell.
Sara Zaker said, “Rohingya reparation and the overall crisis are very important and familiar to us as we had been refugees during our Liberation War. The Liberation War Museum has been motivating young and independent filmmakers to showcase their talents and we believe that films are the greatest medium to preserve history, just like this particular project.”
Mofidul Hoque said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh sheltered over one million Rohingyas while many countries are shutting their doors for refugees.
“We are calling it a 'World Premiere' not without any legitimate reason. The world has been acknowledging the Rohingya refugee crisis because of Bangladesh's valiant effort to call for justice against this genocide. We’re arranging this world premiere during the time when the Rohingya refugees are observing the third anniversary of the genocide and this movie is and always will be a part of history,” he said.
Explaining the ‘behind the scene’ stories, director Russell said co-director Sujan used to work in camp-4 in the Rohingya refugee camp as part of an NGO and he first discovered this interesting character, Mandolin player Mohammad Hossain.
During the crisis, many Rohingya people left their motherland with whatever they could grab. “Hossain came here with only his beloved Mandolin. He used it to bring the musical comfort and sound of hope to the disheartened refugees and we realised that this story is very unique and should definitely be projected.”
He said they prepared the draft script and submitted it to the Liberation War Museum's 7th Liberation DocFest. It got nominated and won first prize as part of the 'Exposition of Young Film Talent' and received the funding as well as mentoring from the Bangladesh Film Archive and Dhaka DocLab.
About the working experience in the camp, Russell said that when the Rohingyas first came to Cox's Bazar the situation was very chaotic out there. The government along with the UNSD (United States Statistics Division) systematically fixed the issues.
“It was comfortable for us to shoot many footage. The Liberation War Museum then issued an official letter for me to the RRRC (Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner) and I got permission to work in camp-4 for this project, while Sumon was already working there."
The documentary was then premiered and is now available on UNB's official Facebook page.