First Asian Film Critics Assembly held in Dhaka

in 16th Dhaka International Film Festival

by Alin Tasciyan

The 1st Asian Film Critics Assembly – AFCA was organized on 15 and 16 January 2018 at the 16th Dhaka International Film Festival – DIFF, in collaboration with the International Film Critics Association of Bangladesh – IFCAB. Representatives of 12 Asian states reported on the state of film critics and film criticism in their countries, discussed several current issues concerning our profession and had a meeting with emerging directors from Bangladesh during the two day long assembly. Alin Tasciyan, the President of FIPRESCI presided the assembly hosted by the President of IFCAB Mr. Rabiul Hussain.

FIPRESCI, IFCAB and DIFF’s main aims in organizing the 1st Asian Film Critics Assembly was to bring together Asian film critics in order to communicate, to share their professional experiences and opinions on cinema and to discuss the general situation of film criticism in Asia. FIPRESCI hopes to establish better and closer relations between film critics in Asia and create a tighter network for further collaborations based on this experience.

The participants of the 1. AFCA were Mr. Artur Vardikyan from Armenia, Mr. Ershad Kamol from Bangladesh, Ms. Liuying Cao from China, Mr. Premendra Mazumder from India, Mr. Khoshrow Denghan from Iran, Ms. Atsuko Saito from Japan, Ms. Gulbara Tolomushova from Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Seok Yong Chang from South Korea, Mr. Ashley M. Ratnavibhushana from Sri Lanka, Ms. Sharofat M. Arabova from Tajikistan, Ms. Necla Algan from Turkey. Although Mr. Fred Wong couldn’t participate at the assembly in person he sent his report and it was read by Alin Tasciyan and included among the discussion topics. Two members of FIPRESCI among the invitees of the 16th International Dhaka Film Festival, Viera Langerova from Chekya and Kim Sang-hwa also attended the AFCA as observants and participated in the discussions.

From the youngest to the oldest, the Asian film critics attending the 1. AFCA were experienced professionals, they are or have been holding positions in the film critics associations of their countries and / or international organizations like film festivals. Even from their prism, the state of film critics and criticism, in the concerned Asian countries, does not appear to be promising, according to the reports of the representatives, India being the only exception, in fact a phenomenon.

Although there are huge differences of population and surface area, economical and political situations between the 12 countries, the film critics expressed similar concerns. There are still a large number of active film critics in more than half of the attending countries and they are organized in all of them. Critics are professionally institutionalized, represented and continue to produce in various forms and under various roofs. Many books are published and printed outlets still exist, although they hire film critics less and less. Unemployment, finding a job which pays enough for a decent survival, surprisingly rises as the major problem even in one of the world’s most developed economies, Japan as well as in Armenia an economy in transition. (Those classifications are made by the United Nations.)