Sharmila Tagore will join a live discussion and Q&A at 4pm on January 20
While all the film festivals in the world are either rescheduling, cancelling or going virtual, Dhaka International Film Festival went ahead at its usual time. The inauguration took place at the National Museum on January 16, followed by the 7th International Conference of Women in Cinema and the 3rd West Meets East program.
The women's conference began with a dance drama performed by the cultural unit of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy. Performers dressed as legendary Bengali women across history told their stories through dance and narration. Princess Leelaboti, poet Chandraboti, Rassundari Devi, Nawab Faizunnessa, Begum Rokeya, Preetilata Waddedar, Ila Mitra, Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sufia Kamal, and Jahanara Imam were among the women whose contributions were championed in this segment. State Minister of Cultural Affairs K M Khalid, Director General of BSA Liaquat Ali Lucky, and DIFF chairperson professor Kishwar Kamal, inaugurated the conference while film festival programmers Hannah Fisher (Canada) and Meral Melika Duran (France) joined online.
The papers presented at the conference were: “A Few Good Films: Alternative Representation of Women in Films in the 70s in Bangladesh” by Mehzad Ghalib, “We tell the Truth through Cinema- Women of Iranian Cinema" by Elaheh Nobakht (Iran), “Depicting Son Preference in Indian Cinema: A Feminist Contemplation” by Debjani Halder (India), “Women in VR: Is another train leaving without us?” by Sadia Khalid, "Role of Film Festivals and Social Media to empower and encourage Women in Cinema. And Nepalese Women Film Maker's stand in the present scenario in 7 decades history." by Nisha Shrestha (Nepal), “Beyond Bangla Borders: Made in Bangladesh: A Case Study” by Sydney Levine (USA). The conference was organized by DIFF's festival director, Ahmed Muztaba Zamal.
At the West Meets East program on January 19, Indian film critic Meenakshi Shedde talked about building an effective festival strategy, Creative lead of Zee5 Anindita Choudhury and director Ariq Anam Khan talked about landing films on OTT platforms, Norwegian distributor Age Hoffart and director/producer Abu Shahed Emon talked about co-production markets, and Sydney Levine concluded the session an overview of a film's festival journey. The program was organized by director AKA Ghalib and Dhaka Tribune's Showtime Editor, Sadia Khalid.
The seminars will conclude on January 20 from 4-5:30pm with A Tribute to Satyajit Ray, marking the birth centenary of the maestro. Celebrated actors Sharmila Tagore and Dhritiman Chatterjee will join the discussion at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy virtually, along with keynote speaker Mofidul Hoque, actor and former Minister of Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor, art critic Moinuddin Khaled and Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed. The talk is open for all and can also be viewed from the festival's Facebook page.