15 th Dhaka International Film Festival, Bangladesh (12-20 January, 2017)
The Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) which is organized by the Rainbow Film Society has registered a growth ever since it was launched in 1992 in the bustling South Asian city of Dhaka. The city is famous for its manual three- wheeler rickshaw, which was chosen as the logo of the film festival. Not many film societies around the globe have the luxury of running a festival with such pomp and gaiety as in Dhaka. This year the festival has posted another sort of milestone, by turning itself into an annual carnival from its biennial event. The festival not only stands for resistance against the decadence, vulgarity and cheap commercialism that pervades the mainstream, but also for exchange of ideas, compassion and understanding of human bonds, which is under threat across the globe.
At the opening ceremony of this year’s edition, the Honorable President of Bangladesh Md. Abdul Hamid, acknowledged the global language of cinema, transcending time and space while recalling the contributions of filmmakers of pre- liberation and post-liberation periods of Bangladesh to world cinema. The DIFF director, Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, himself a FIPRESCI veteran, exchanged crests with the President of the Republic, as a gesture of understanding and cooperation towards what is best reflected in the festival’s theme “Better Film. Better Audience. Better Society.” The ceremony was addressed by the FIPRESCI President Alin Tasciyan, as a special guest.
This time the films were showcased in different sections, such as: Asian Competition, Cinema of the World, Retrospective dedicated to the late Iranian maestro Abbas Kiarostami and the renowned Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu, Nordic Film Session, Children Film, Short and Independent, Women Filmmakers, and Spiritual Film Section. A day-long seminar on “Global Journey of Bangladeshi Films” was held with a goal of helping films from the country reach wider audience and markets. With increased participants, the seventh Dhaka Cine Workshop that started one week in advance was a resounding success. A two-day conference on “Women on Cinema”, which was organized for the third time in association with the Alliance Francaise, drew much attention and well- synchronized participation from filmmakers, scholars, students and media persons.
The FIPRESCI jury watched a total of 22 Asian films. The award went to Hussein Hassan’s Iraqi film The Dark Wind – another feather on its cap, after winning a top prize for the best fiction feature at Dubai International Film Festival, which took place last December. The Women Filmmakers jury chaired by Hronn Marinosdottir, the festival director of Reykjavik International Film Festival, selected Nahid, by Ida Panahandeh of Iran, as the Best Feature Film. There were 17 awards given away in the festival. The jury of the main Asian Film Competition section, comprised of Toronto based Armenian actor Levon Haftvan, noted Iranian producer Amir Esfandiari, Tajikistan’s filmmaker and film historian Dr. Sharofat Arabova and Bangladeshi film actor-director Syed Hasan Imam. They selected Reza Mirkarimi’s Iranian film Daughter as the Best Film, and the prize given to him was 100,000 Taka. The Best Director award went to another Iranian filmmaker, Parviz Shahbazi, for his film Malaria. (Manoj Barpujari, edited by Nachum Mochiach)
© FIPRESCI 2017
Edited by Nachum Mochiach