Two young Bangladeshi filmmakers, Sumon Delwar and Rezwan Shahriar Sumit, came back from Cannes Film Festival’s Marche du Film (film market) last week. This is the second time International Film Initiative Bangladesh (IFIB) has taken emerging filmmakers to Cannes under its “Dhaka to Cannes” initiative, which is facilitated by International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA).
Spearheaded by popular TV personality Samia Zaman, Sumon and Sumit attended meetings (with potential financiers, sales agents, film boards etc) and a three-day workshop, as part of the initiative. The filmmaker duo stayed in Cannes from May 8-14. Last year, Abid Mollick and Lubna Sharmin got this break. The participants are chosen by an international selection board from applications submitted on the IFIB website.
IFIB President Samia Zaman told Showtime: “IEFTA is continuing to support IFIB on our ‘Dhaka to Cannes’ program. We are very happy to be able to bring two young and promising filmmakers again to Cannes.”
She added that IEFTA has extended their program this year. Through Global Film Expression, they brought 12 filmmakers from six countries, two of them from Bangladesh.
“We definitely want to continue our participation at Cannes. Hopefully we shall be able to extend our scope of engagement,” she said. “We need to develop a strategy to make the most of this amazing film event taking place every year. Not only Cannes, we can create programs for other places too, as long as we are clear about what our goals are.”
Sumon Delwar was chosen via Dhaka Doc Lab where his feature documentary project, “My Sister, My Friend,” got the highest recommendation from the jury. This partnership between IFIB and Dhaka Doc Lab will continue over the years, which is a great incentive to documentary filmmaking in Bangladesh, said filmmaker Sumit.
Documentary filmmaker Sumon said: “My documentary is on a woman in a remote village of Bangladesh who got HIV/AIDS, transmitted by her deceased migrant worker husband. Determined to regain property from her in-laws, she dreams of becoming a paramedic against all odds for the future security of her three daughters.”
Sumon hopes to complete the feature length documentary and release it at festivals as well as in local cinema halls.
About the selection process, Sumit said: “IFIB posted an open call for applications early last year and I applied. IEFTA liked my projects and sent me an invitation."
He added that the timing this year was perfect, as he got to catch up with his French producer Ilann Girard in person, who has been associated with his project since they met last year at the Co-Production Market of Film Bazaar, Goa.
Sumit said his film “Nonajoler Kabbo,” for which he was selected in the program, tracks the journey of a young sculptor named Rudro who moves to a remote fishing island of Bangladesh to practice his art. Everyone welcomes him at first. He makes new friends, goes on wild boat rides and finds a creative flow unlike ever before. However, as the search for the first hilsha fish of the season begins, Rudro realizes that his first few days were just the lull before a storm.