Reflecting on the necessity of global festivals for the betterment of cultural practices, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said on Sunday that Bangladesh has earned the respect of the world through successfully arranging globally admired cultural rendezvous like Dhaka International Film Festival every year.
The minister called off the curtain for the nine-day Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) and handed over the awards to the recipients as the chief guest, attending its concluding ceremony at the Bangladesh National Museum in the city on Sunday while State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid joined the ceremony as the special guest.
The program was presided over by festival executive committee member M Hamid and hosted by the festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, while State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chief Patron of the festival M Shahriar Alam also joined the ceremony, among others.
Thanking the organizers for paying homage to the memory of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the 19th DIFF was dedicated to him, marking the occasion of his birth centenary as ‘Mujib Borsho’ and also successfully organizing the festival amid the pandemic, Dr Hasan Mahmud said this type of global festival is important for the society and the Information Ministry will be more associated with the festival from next year.
"Although the world is exploring an overwhelming growth of the OTT platforms, cinema halls-multiplexes-festivals never lost the appeal from the movie lovers. Netflix and most of the other OTT Platforms are rooted from the United States and India, however, still there are approximately 6,000 movie theatres in the United States and 8,000 in India."
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said, “This is such a prestigious film festival for Bangladesh, and our Ministry will increase its cooperation in the future editions of this wonderful international festival. Congratulations to the organizers for successfully arranging the festival this year, overcoming the hurdles ignited by the pandemic.”
The 19th edition of DIFF showcased a total of 227 films from around 73 countries. Films in the festival are being screened at six venues - the main auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of the Sufia Kamal National Public Library, the National Art Gallery Auditorium, and Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nandan Mancha of the Academy for open-air screening, and Bashundhara City and Shimanto Shambhar branches of Star Cineplex. Aside from these venues, the festival screened films using the virtual platform LagVelki.com for the first time.
All these films competed in the diversified sections in the 19th DIFF, including the “Asian Cinema Competition”, “Retrospective”, “Bangladesh Panorama”, “Cinema of the World”, “Children Films”, “Women Filmmakers”, “Short and Independent Films” and “Spiritual Films”.
The 2021 festival showcased feature films on global leaders under a new segment titled “Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World” for the first time in its history, honoring the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Founding President of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as part of the ‘Mujib Borsho’ celebration across the country.
The 19th edition also held a special segment titled “Tribute”, honoring the Oscar-winning cinema titan Satyajit Ray, also on the occasion of his birth centenary. Some of his notable films including “Pather Panchali”, “Aparajito”, “Jalsaghar”, “Apur Sansar”, “Ashani Sanket”, “Sonar Kella” and “Hirak Rajar Deshe” has been screened at the festival as part of this Section.
The films were screened from January 16 to January 24 at all the selected venues in the capital. Organizers Rainbow Film Society also hosted “7th edition of Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema'' on January 17-18, an international film-marketplace conference ‘West Meets East’ on January 19 and the special commemorative hybrid seminar titled “Satyajit Ray: National as Global”, remembering the Oscar-winning film-maestro Satyajit Ray on his birth centenary with distinguished guests including veteran actors in the subcontinent Sharmila Tagore and Dhritiman Chatterjee along with Supreme Court Justice and art enthusiast Syed Refaat Ahmed, cultural activist and trustee of Bangladesh Liberation War Museum Mofidul Hoque and art critic Moinuddin Khaled, presided by eminent thespian and former cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor. All of these special programs were held at the National Theatre Hall auditorium at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
The 19th edition of the prestigious Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) concluded on Sunday with the awards ceremony where a movie from Kyrgyzstan about an old writer who believes in the redeeming power of literature, The Road to Eden, walked away with the top prize.
Highly anticipated Bangladeshi films Unoponchash Batash and Gondi won awards in their specific categories.
An eclectic mix of international entries were recognized at the awards, with films from Central Asia including a string of ex-Soviet republics especially prominent. Apart from the Kyrgyz top prize, entries from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia were recognized in different categories.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud handed over the awards to the recipients on Sunday at the concluding ceremony of the 19th DIFF at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum.
Representing Kyrgyzstan, the film titled Akyrky Koch (The Road to Eden) won the award for Best Film in the “Asian Competition” category. Directed by Kyrgyz directors Bakyt Mukul and Dastan Zhapar Uulu, the film had its world premiere in the 24th edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), Estonia in 2020.
Five more awards were presented in this category, as the Best Scriptwriting Award went to Nasim Ahmadpour & Sharam Mokri for the Iranian film Jenayat-e bi deghat (Careless Crime), directed by Shahram Mokri; the award for the Best Cinematography went to Galbadrakh Batmunkh for the film The Woman, directed by Otgonzorig Batchuluun (Mongolia); Best Actor Nejat Isler for the film 9,75, directed by Uluc Bayraktar (Turkey); Best Actress Meruert Subbusinova for the film Mariam, directed by Sharipa Urazbayeva (Kazakhstan) and the award for the Best Director went to Ksenia Lagutina for the film Farida, a joint production from Azerbaijan and Russia.
Best Audience Award in the “Bangladesh Panorama'' section was awarded to the Sabyasachi Chakraborty - Suborna Mustafa starrer film Gondi, directed by Fakhrul Arefeen Khan. The prestigious Best Film Award by FIPRESCI Jury in the same section was awarded to Unoponchash Batash (Incomplete Breath), directed by Masud Hasan Ujjal.
The “Women Filmmakers Section” in the 19th edition of DIFF named a total of four awards this year. The award for the Best Director in the Women Filmmakers Section went to Margarida Paiva for the film A Røbba Gnor (The Little Black Dress), jointly produced by Norway and Italy; Best Short Film Award went to the film Tirishko, directed by Shakiba Khaleghi (Iran), the award for the Best Documentary went to the film Forbidden Children, directed by Evdokia Moskvina as a joint production from Russia and Syria and the Special Mention Award was given to the short film Incidents- Way Home, directed by Jessica Laurén (Sweden).
Several other awards were presented to the winners at the ceremony. The Badal Rahman Award for Best Children's Film was achieved by Taganok Team (Directed by Ainur Askarov, Russia); Best Feature Film in the “Spiritual Film Section” was awarded to the film Senior Citizen (Cyprus), directed by Marinos Kartikkis and Best Documentary in this section went to Sunless Shadows, a joint production from Iran and Norway, directed by Mehrdad Oskouei.
The festival Director and President of Rainbow Film Society Ahmed Mostofa Jamal announced that the 20th Dhaka International Film Festival will be held on January 15-23, 2022.
Bangladeshi theatre’s “voice of rebellion” Ishrat Nishat fell silent on January 20 last year.
This Wednesday marked the first death anniversary of the eminent theatre activist, actor, playwright, organiser, light designer and recitation artiste.
The 56-year-old was remembered with a special tribute “Ek Jiboner Theatre” by theatre troupe Desh Theatre. The programme showcased the life and works of Nishat at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Noted cultural personalities and theatre activists including Azad Abul Kalam, Mamunur Rashid, Masum Reza, Nasiruddin Yousuff shared their memories of the late activist and spoke about her contribution to Bangladeshi theatre.
“Ishrat Nishat was a dedicated theatre activist who wholeheartedly loved her job. She always guided, admired and protected her fellow theatre workers. Bangladeshi theatre movement is forever indebted to Ishrat,” legendary actor and Aranyak drama troupe founder Mamunur Rashid said.
“As a dedicated theatre professional, Ishrat earned respect from all theatre activists of Bangladesh due to her relentless efforts until her death.”
Her legacy will forever be remembered with the utmost respect, cultural activist and Dhaka DocLab chairman Nasiruddin Yousuff said.
Nasiruddin directed Nishat as an artiste in his film “Alpha,” the official submission of Bangladesh to the 92nd Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film in 2019.
Cultural personalities also remembered the late artiste-activist with heartwarming stories on social media.
Theatre magazine “Khepa” published a special edition featuring the late artiste, commemorating her eventful life as a journeyman in the theatre arena.
Ishrat was born to the late actress Najma Anwar on August 26 in 1964. She garnered critical acclaim for her performances in theatre, television and films.
Nishat’s theatrical journey began with the theatre troupe Aranyak Natyadal’s play “Guinea Pig” in the 80s.
Her excellence as an actress later continued with plays like “Birosa Kabya,” “Ghorlapat” and “Dorpone Shorotshoshi.” She also directed two plays – “Loha” and “Arakshita.”
As a renowned organising activist, Nishat served the drama troupe Desh Natok as one of its founding members and served as the troupe’s leader until her death.
She was also a member of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, Bangladesh Path Natok Parishad and Sammilita Sangskritik Jote.
Aside from being a theatre activist, Nishat was also a talented and creative light designer for staged plays and she was also a noted recitation artiste.
Websites have forced the average consumer to read far more than the pre-internet era could have possibly done. From grammatically broken comments on social media to research papers readily made available at just a tap of the screen, people have spent so much time reading that content structure has reduced significantly. Letter caps on Twitter posts and reduced word count in articles were altered to cater to the diminishing attention span of online readers. The digital age has just begun, but captivating novels are still releasing and users are still keen to slow down and absorb content traditionally. With the Kindle’s attempt to cleverly marry books and digital, it has become a direct competitor to the classic book, but how do they fare against each other and which one is better for you?
The Kindle’s Rise to Popularity
Amazon did not pioneer the concept of an e-reader (or e-book), but they certainly dominated the commercial market ever since they introduced the Kindle in 2007. The device was created solely for the purpose of reading e-novels which meant that its technology was specifically designed with the complete understanding that consumers would be looking at the Kindle’s screen for hours as anyone normally would with a regular book.
It’s no secret that overexposure to screens will damage the eyes if not moderated, however LED and LCD lights were avoided, and substituted with E-Ink. Despite what its name implies, E-Ink isn’t cutting-edge technology because of the way it emits texts on screen, but the entire “paper” interface altogether. Although pioneered in 1997, the Kindle has made sure that E-Ink can be used under extreme lighting conditions like harsh sunlight or even in dark places. By no means is this technology completely harmless for the eyes. Screen exposure regardless of the display system will emit blue light that can harm the eyes if overexposed, but Kindle goes out of its way to cause as little harm to readers as the latest technology available would allow.
The Kindle’s largest selling point by far is it's convenience. With a massive selection of E-books made available on the Amazon store, consumers can simply buy anything they want on the portal and the novel will immediately become available on their devices. On top of that, a mere 8GB Kindle can house up to 2,750 e-books while the 32GB model can contain a whopping number of 22,000 E-books. The sheer storage capacity in this small device has made it the perfect travel companion. Flights with hand luggage weight restrictions or long train rides are where the device has proven to be a potential successor to physical books.
Can Physical Books Keep Up?
Generations of consumers who lived in the physical book era find that no technology can replace the experience of reading an actual book. From the scent of new pages to the texture of paper, physical books have been reliable for hundreds of years, but arguably have been relegated to a luxury these days. Attention spans have been depleting as consumers become more online dependent and allocating time to read for hours isn’t as easy of an option as it once was. One of the biggest upsides to books is how affordable they are compared to a kindle. For about $20, readers can pick up a book that could last weeks or even months if there are time constraints. Worrying about battery failure when unused or accidentally dropping it are not concerns for physical books at all. On the other extreme end of the spectrum, avid readers would enjoy the experience of flipping pages, bookmarking and getting lost in the text in a scenic area.
For those who don't read often: If you’re under massive time constraints due to work or family life, a physical book could be the better choice. The price of a Kindle is certainly going to be too indulgent for how much it is being used for. A regular book is well worth your time if an hour is the maximum you could squeeze in a day.
For the frequent traveller: The Kindle is perfect for those who travel abundantly. Whether for work or leisure, the compact device saves you tons of weight that you’d have to lug around for hours on end. All it takes is a 2-minute purchase at the e-book store on Amazon for you to have new content to read wherever you are.
For the avid reader. This is all about preference. If you have dedicated time on your hands to sit by a lake, cafe or park to read for a few hours, both work effectively. If you need to detach from technology, a hardcopy is the way to go. If you want to juggle a few reading materials comfortably, go for the Kindle.
The ongoing 19th edition of Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) is being held for the first time in a hybrid format combining due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, and LagVelki.com, country’s first online pay-per-view movie streaming platform, is streaming the movies online as the official virtual platform of this festival.
Describing the journey behind the partnership, LagVelki’s founder Shariful Islam Shaon told UNB that this is a great opportunity for a Bangladeshi streaming startup, led and operated by the film-loving youths of the nation.
“DIFF is one of the biggest film festivals in the world and the biggest in our country since its beginning. For the first time ever, this festival is using a streaming platform as the 19th edition is being observed in a hybrid format, and we are proud to be its official broadcasting partner,” Shaon told UNB.
Sharing the story on how LagVelki got connected with DIFF, Shaon shared: “Noted filmmaker Abu Shehed Emon got us connected with DIFF, after the Liberation DocFest back in July 2020. Although DIFF director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal knew of our start-up, we officially began to discuss a possible partnership back in October. We presented our plan, and made official agreement in late December that LagVelki is going to stream 126 foreign films at the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival as its first-ever official virtual partner.”
“The entire working process was hectic, but we took it as a learning experience. Compressing 126 films and uploading on our website, making promo materials for each film and ensuring constant customer support for the virtual moviegoers was challenging, yet we successfully completed our tasks,” Shaon added.
When asked about the limitations, he mentioned that LagVelki only received permission to project foreign films at this year’s DIFF, however, the platform is expecting to project both local and international films in future editions of DIFF.
“OTT (Over-the-top) platforms are the future and already Bangladeshi films are being showcased at many OTT sites. As a local startup which initiated to support local films and filmmakers, we expect to have more professional engagements from our film professionals so that we can reach to more local audiences with our local films”.
Speaking of local audiences, Shaon also informed that the movies can only be watched from Bangladesh, as there are regional blockages for other countries. Local audiences can enjoy a full-length feature film at tk 50 and Short film at tk 20 for 6 hours after purchase. Payment can be made through any means of digital payment method available in Bangladesh including BKash, Nagad, Rocket and more.
“As a part of the new-hybrid-normalcy, we are receiving overwhelmingly good responses from our audiences - especially from the educated film enthusiasts, researchers, teachers and scholars who are being able to watch these films from anywhere in the country which was needed during this pandemic. This accessibility was not available to our audiences before.”
DIFF always had its special preferences for children through its various initiatives, and Shaon informed that LagVelki also followed the same - as its showcasing multiple films for children as the target audiences every day. “Many guardians were concerned on bringing their children in this festival which has always celebrated the presence of a significant number of child audiences every year - and keeping that in mind, we designed the festival with multiple international films to enthrall our child audiences,” Shaon told UNB.
Lagvelki has a total of five members in the core team led by Shariful Shaon, and 16 members in the digital team mostly from film & computer Science background. These young film lovers are working to reach this platform all over Bangladesh, cutting the middle-men during film distribution and channeling the money directly to the producers and filmmakers.
Shaon mentioned that LagVelki has received blessings and spiritual guidance from leading film scholars and cultural activists in Bangladesh, including Mofidul Hoque, Nasir Uddin Yousuf, Tareq Ahmed, Samia Zaman, Abu Shahed Emon and more.
As one of the rising startups, LagVelki became one of the top 3 winners as part of the #StartKoro bootcamp in July 2020, which was designed in a way that the participants have gone through a full cycle of learning, ideating, developing and launching a digital product or a startup. The winners received a total of $1500 USD ads credits from Facebook Developer Circle Dhaka, Preneur Lab Trust, UNDP Youth Co:Lab, UNCDF, Startup Bangladesh, FNF Bangladesh and bdapps by Robi Axiata Limited in the month-long boot camp was attended by 874 registered participants.
Being the first pay-per-movie site in Bangladesh, LagVelki is committed to bring cult classics to award-winning masterpieces and flourish the true form of visual arts without compromising the artist's views, thoughts & philosophical aspects, according to Shaon and his team.