Showcasing the brilliance of young European and Bangladeshi filmmakers, the five-day European Film Festival started at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy's National Theater Hall auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday evening.
With the tagline “A Celebration of European and Bangladeshi Young Cinema,” the festival is being organized by the European Union in Bangladesh with the Daily Prothom Alo as the prime associate.
On Sunday evening, the inaugural ceremony began with an intriguing discussion session, conducted by Charles Whiteley, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) in Dhaka.
Prothom Alo executive editor and poet Sajjad Sharif, renowned filmmaker Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, and former Dhaka University Visual Anthropology Club president and film activist Simin Ibnat Dharitree participated in the discussion, titled 'Youth in Cinema'.
“This festival is taking place during such an exciting time for our film industry, and our young filmmakers are searching for new languages, presenting unknown experiences of the society. They are looking forward to changing the obstacles in our cinema, in which festivals like this can guide and help them,” Sajjad Sharif said at the panel discussion.
Filmmaker Amitabh Reza Chowdhury said, “Whenever I ask people from our new generation, most of them say that they want to leave the country. We need to ensure an environment where they can thrive with their talents. If our cinema cannot tell our stories or cannot resonate with our lives and our own context, this problem will remain with us and we need the support of global film instructors-associates to guide our new generation filmmakers.”
Simon Ibnat Dharitree said that the influence of cinema is very strong in the life of the youth and movies can be useful in the field of intellectual practice and social awareness apart from entertaining audiences.
The film screening of the festival began with the screening of the Dutch film ‘Mally Can Fly’, after the inaugural panel discussion.
After that, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman expressed his gratitude to the European Union Embassy in Bangladesh for organizing this film festival and thanked the associate organizers including Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, Alliance Française de Dhaka and British Council Bangladesh.
Earlier, the festival authority organized a 'Masterclass' with young filmmakers to enrich the cultural diversity of Europe and Bangladesh through creative work. Last Friday and Saturday, director Syeda Nigar Banu, cinematographer Apu Rozario, and filmmakers Amitabh Reza Chowdhury and Piplu R Khan conducted the masterclasses at the British Council in Dhaka.
At the festival's inauguration ceremony on Sunday, these instructors were honoured by the European Union (EU) Ambassador to Dhaka Charles Whiteley and Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman.
A short film competition was organized as part of the festival, and the filmmakers were honoured in three categories. Young director Mostofa Monowar received the Best Story award for his film ‘Passenger’ while Akib Mahmud won the Best Director award for the film ‘Ashlesha’.
The festival crowned Mehedi Hasan Joseph's short film ‘Poster’ as the Best Film, and the inauguration ceremony concluded with the screening of the film.
EU Ambassador to Dhaka Charles Whiteley, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman and Chorki CEO Redoan Rony handed over the prizes to the winners.
The film screenings will be held at several venues across the country till September 23, including the Alliance Française de Dhaka, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Modern Language Institute of Modern Language in Dhaka University, the Dutch Club, Khulna University, Barendra University in Rajshahi and Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University in Mymensingh.
Ambassador Whiteley thanked all the partners and the panellists who have made the festival a reality with brilliant films from the Europe and Bangladesh.
He also congratulated the winners of the short film competition.