After successfully projecting stories around the world on the first two days, South Asia’s first online documentary film festival - the 8th Liberation DocFest Bangladesh-2020 - continued projecting enriched documentary films with excellence in storytelling on Thursday.
Alongside a great bunch of extraordinary full-length documentary films, there are multiple short films being shown on the third day.
‘Awakening of the Goddess' is a unique short film from India by Debjani Mukherjee. ‘Lo sono Rosa Parks’ (I am Rosa Parks) is another short film, by Italian filmmaker Alessandro Garilli.
'Ruthan’ directed by South African filmmaker Abul Ajak, 'Selfie' directed by Spanish filmmaker Nayra Sanz Fuentes and Iranian doc-filmmaker Zhivar Farajzadehs film 'Serok' is also participating with above-mentioned short-films under the ‘Cinema of the world’ category.
‘Highways of Life’, a film from India by director Amar Maibam is being projected at the festival's ‘International Competition/Special Package’ section.
‘Khunti (Road to Roots)’ is a Bangladesh/India joint collaboration film, directed by Md Zahirul Hassan. The film is being projected as part of the ‘National Competition’ category.
As part of the stacked ‘Cinema of the world’ section, multiple noteworthy films are currently being projected at the official website of the festival.
Indian filmmakers are having great participation in this particular category. Anupama Srinivasan’s film ‘Are You Going to School Today?’ and ‘Bloody Phanek’ by filmmaker Sonia Nepram are being projected in this section.
As part of the joint-productions, filmmakers Thomas Grand and Moussa Diop from Senegal are presenting their film 'Golden Fish, African Fish’, along with ‘Undocumented Unafraid' which is a joint documentary production from the United States and Mexico by filmmaker Arturo Pulido are also being projected as part of the ‘Cinema of the world’.
Portuguese filmmaker Claudio Carbone is presenting his doc-film 'Hasta que muera el sol’, while Lebanese filmmaker Sarah Kaskas is participating with her cinema titled 'Underdown'.
Among other films, 'Transformation' is from Belarus by Roman Romanov; ‘Congo Calling’ is from Germany by filmmaker Stephan Hilpert and 'We are soldiers' is a Ukrainian doc-film by Svitlana Smirnova, are also being projected at the festival in the same category.
Details are also available at the festival’s official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Liberationdocfestbd/.
The 8th annual Liberation Docfest Bangladesh-2020, the first of its kind in South Asia, began on Tuesday virtually connecting global film producers and audiences demonstrating that coronavirus pandemic could not stop them from getting connected through minds and hearts.
The five-day festival, previously known as the International Festival of Docufilms on Liberation and Human Rights, has generated much interest among film lovers at home and abroad.
The Liberation War Museum, a peoples’ museum dedicated to highlighting the history of Bangladesh’s struggle for independence and its presentation to the new generation, is hosting the festival.
Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, has associated with this year’s festival as the technology partner while the media partner is United News of Bangladesh (UNB), South Asia’s first fully wired digital news agency.
Acclaimed Bangladeshi filmmaker and freedom fighter Syed Salahuddin Zaki inaugurated the festival.
A festival solely dedicated to documentary cinemas, seeking to highlight the struggle for Liberation and Human Rights of people in various parts of the world and its contemporary significance - the event has always been one of the most awaited and celebrated film festivals in Bangladesh.
The festival aims to uphold new forms of viewing the human suffering and struggle for justice in the global perspective.
This unique festival also focuses on breaking new ground and on the great diversity and vitality of storytelling and creativity of the documentary genre.
A total of 70 films will be screened during the festival that will continue until June 20.
About the initiative, Liberation War Museum's trustee Mofidul Hoque said the Liberation War Museum has constantly been motivating and patronizing filmmakers to make documentary films from its inception, so that the current and future generations can get the opportunity to taste and understand the essence of our glorious Liberation War in 1971.
"We started this spontaneous journey of documentary films from our previous museum space at Shegun Bagicha to the newly founded spacious museum space in Agargaon, and since then we have been celebrating this festival at a bigger and better arrangement," he said.
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to organizing partner Cosmos Foundation and UNB, Mofiqul Hoque said this year marks the 8th edition of the Liberation DocFest Bangladesh, and was supposed to be held from April 2 to April 6, 2020.
However, due to outbreak of Covid-19 the countrywide lockdown was declared and the Liberation War Museum like many other institutions, was closed, so the Liberation DocFest Bangladesh festival had to be postponed.
"Thanks to Cosmos Foundation for coming forward with the required assistance to arrange this year’s festival online, so now the festival and all these wonderful documentary films from over 50 countries can be explored by everyone around the world - which gives us a much larger platform than our usual arrangements at the museum,” he said.
Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan said they are delighted to get the opportunity to extend their cooperation for the festival. "We feel proud of that."
He said it is certainly a great matter of joy that Cosmos Foundation and United News of Bangladesh (UNB) got associated with this year’s DocFest.
"The prime focus of this year’s festival is birth centenary celebrations of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This festival is a part of the celebrations," Khan said.
Regarding the first-ever online documentary film festival in South Asia, he said approximately 1800 documentary films from 112 nations have been submitted for this year’s festival - and this is, indeed a great matter of pride for Bangladesh.
Khan said it will help build positive image for the country in the world.
"We are all affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. We are all confined to homes. But nobody could confine our hearts. We are marching ahead despite many barriers," he said.
"I believe the audience around the world would be able to happily connect themselves with all the wonderful films participating in this DocFest," Khan added.
The festival will feature sections namely ‘National Competitive Section: Documenting 1971’ and beyond, International Competitive Section, non-competitive section namely Cinema of the World and special packages.
The winners in the competitive sections will receive cash prizes, certificates and crests.
Cinema of the World section will feature films from across the globe.
Documentary films on the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and leaders from different third world countries will be screened under the section ‘Bangabandhu & other icons of national liberation in third world’ and the package named ‘Northeast is not far way: Documentaries of Northeast India’ will feature documentaries from Eastern India.
The Jury members for the International Competition Section for this year’s festival are Kim Young Woo (Programmer and Chair at the DMZ DOCS festival, South Korea); Nepalese filmmaker Subina Shestha and Samia Zaman, renowned Bangladeshi filmmaker, journalist and producer - while the jury for the National Competition are Bangladeshi filmmaker Aka Reza Galib, film critic Bidhan Riberu and academic, playwright, actor and theatre personality Samina Lutfa Nitra.
AR Rahman, India’s renowned Oscar and Grammy-winning music composer joined as the latest team member for renowned Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s upcoming international project ‘No Land’s Man’.
Joining renowned and globally acclaimed Indian actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rahman will also co-produce the film alongside being the film’s music composer.
Popular Bangladeshi actor Nusrat Imrose Tisha, who is also one of the Bangladeshi co-producers of this film alongside Farooki from their production house ‘Chabial’, confirmed the news in her official Facebook and Instagram page.
Nicknamed as the ‘Mozart of Madras’, AR Rahman is considered one of the most successful and respected Indian music producer-composer-singer and awarded a total of six Indian National Film Awards, two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Filmfare Awards and seventeen Filmfare Awards South.
In November, popular Bangladeshi singer and actor Tahsan Rahman Khan joined Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the debuting Australian actor Megan Mitchell for the lead roles in the film.
AR Rahman joined the ensemble list of producers in Farooki’s big international project, alongside with Nawazuddin and his brother Shamas Nawab Siddiqui from ‘Magic If Films’, award-winning US producer Shrihari Sathe, director Mostafa Sarwar Farooki and actor Nusrat Imrose Tisha from their production house ‘Chabial’, renowned Bangladeshi corporation Square Group’s Director Anjan Chowdhury and Bangladeshi streaming service BongoBD.
A long-awaited and critically acclaimed project for its vision, “No Land’s Man” won the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ Script Development fund in 2014 and also became part of the Asian Project Market at Busan, South Korea. The film was also chosen as the best project at India’s Film Bazaar, the same year.
'No Land's Man' is the second film of Farooki's identity trilogy, with his previous film 'Shonibar Bikel' (Saturday Afternoon) being the first one. Post-production of the film is being temporarily paused due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
India’s movie industry lost two of its most versatile actors – Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor – who passed away within a day of each other last week.
Though they came from two very different worlds and two very different schools of acting, both leave behind a treasure of cinematic work and millions of grieving fans.
This double whammy for India’s Hindi-language film industry, known as Bollywood, comes amid a crippling coronavirus lockdown that has brought the entertainment business — along with so much else — to a complete halt.
"It seems we are in the midst of a nightmare," popular actor Akshay Kumar tweeted.
In normal times, the funerals for two of Bollywood's most-admired actors would mean tens of thousands of fans gathering to bid them goodbye. Instead, their ceremonies were held in the presence of a handful of family and friends, surrounded by police.
The 54-year-old Khan died Wednesday after battling a rare cancer, while the 67-year-old Kapoor had leukemia and died Thursday.
The career trajectories of both actors reflect the changing contours of Bollywood, which in the past traversed two parallel streams of arthouse cinema and commercial films. The growing acceptance and box-office viability of content-driven films over the last two decades gave the two a chance to cross paths and act in movies that were both critically acclaimed and popular.
A trained stage actor, Khan started his career with television and found work in new-age Bollywood, which was experimenting with visceral themes reflecting India's social and political fault lines in the 1990s.
It took years of roles in small films before Khan made it to the Bollywood big leagues. Balancing arthouse movies with popular commercial fare, Khan went on to play a wide array of roles including an intensely tormented lover in "Maqbool," an adapation of "Macbeth," and a gentle immigrant in Mira Nair's "The Namesake."
Unlike other Bollywood superstars with mega-stylized personas, the versatile Khan brought a rare intelligence and empathy to his characters over his 30-year career.
"He managed to walk off the screen and come home with us," wrote film critic Shubhra Gupta in the Indian Express newspaper.
One of the best-known Indian faces in world cinema , Khan crossed over to Hollywood with ease, playing a variety of parts in movies like "Slumdog Millionaire," "Life of Pi" and "The Amazing Spider Man."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a tweet that Khan was an " incredible talent" and "left his imprint on global cinema."
"Gone too soon. When he is on screen, you can't take your eyes off of him. He lives on in his films," tweeted Hollywood filmmaker Ava Duvernay.
Kapoor's cinematic journey could not have been more different.
Kapoor was a third-generation actor, born with showbiz in his blood. His grandfather Prithiviraj Kapoor and father Raj Kapoor were legendary actors of their time.
Rishi Kapoor started young, receiving the National Award, India's preeminent film award, for his role as a child artist in his father's 1970 film "Mera Naam Joker."
"Acting was in my blood and there was simply no escaping it," Kapoor wrote in his 2017 autobiography.
The runaway success of the teenage romance "Bobby" in 1973 made him a Bollywood heartthrob and a string of romantic, musical blockbusters followed.
The charming lover boy of the 1970s and 1980s went on to become one of the most dependable actors of his time and appeared in some of Bollywood's most-loved films, including "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Chandni."
To be in sync with contemporary filmmakers moving away from melodrama and mining plot-driven stories, Kapoor refashioned his career in later years to play a variety of strong character roles. His portrayal of an old man in the 2016 movie "Kapoor & Sons" and as a Muslim man forced to prove his patriotism in "Mulk" in 2017 won him great acclaim. His most recent movie "The Body" was released last year.
"There may not be another actor who grew up and grew old on camera," tweeted film critic Uday Bhatia.
In his final years, Kapoor became a popular presence on social media, and was refreshingly honest about his opinions. In his last tweet on April 2, he appealed to people to respect the work frontline health workers were doing.
"We have to win this Coronavirus war together," Kapoor wrote.
Altogether Kapoor acted in more than 100 movies in a career spanning more than 40 years.
"He smiled on screen and the world outside became a little bit lighter," film critic Baradwaj Rangan wrote in a tribute. "He gave us joy."
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor passed away on Thursday morning at a Mumbai hospital at the age of 67. He had been battling leukaemia for two years.
Rishi, coming from a film dynasty, was known for acting prowess as well as his straightforwardness and Twitter spats.
He often shared old photos of himself and others on the microblogging platform.
Below are a few snaps of the actor’s life –
Rishi Kapoor was born on September 4, 1952. He was the son of the legendary Raj Kapoor.
One of his earliest photographs shows him with legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. He tweeted the photo in late January.
Rishi Kapoor shared a lifelong bond with Lata.
His throwbacks often featured other actors.
Blast from the past.
He debuted in Mera Naam Joker, a film directed by his father Raj Kapoor.
His first film as an adult came in Bobby in 1973
His love life was as dramatic as his career. Rishi Kapoor and co-star Neetu Singh fell in love with each other on the set of their films.
The couple tied the knot in 1980.
The couple has been blessed with two children – Ranbir Kapoor and Riddhima Kapoor Sahani.
He took a short break from acting and returned with a bang in ‘Agneepath’ in 2012.
Rishi Kapoor last appeared in The Body
Also read: Evergreen Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor dies