“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is starting in a week. And “Made in Bangladesh”, a film by Bangladeshi filmmaker Rubaiyat Hossain, is going to be premiered at the TIFF 2019, under the Contemporary World Cinema category.

What is TIFF

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

Founded in 1976, Toronto International Film Festival has now become one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world. TIFF is providing the platform for aspiring filmmakers to kick start their careers and the opportunity to showcase their new works.

There are about 12 types of programmes and categories in TIFF. Films of narrative style which are usually made by young established directors fall under TIFF’s category: “Contemporary World Cinema”.

This year marks the 44th edition of TIFF.  It’s a 10-day festival, from 5 September 2019 to 15 September 2019.

About “Made in Bangladesh”

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

“Made in Bangladesh” is Rubaiyat Hossain’s third feature-length film.

The protagonist of the film is a worker of the ready-made garment (RMG) sector named Shimu. The character is based on a real-life person who acted as a consultant throughout the making of the film.

“Made in Bangladesh” is the story of Bangladesh’s RMG sector. How this sector empowers women, how it makes them financially independent and provides them socio-economic independence. On-screen, the film laments the obstacles female workers face and also celebrates their success.

Read more: French movie “Fahim” to portray the story of Bangladeshi chess prodigy

All about women empowerment

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

The film talks about women empowerment in every way possible. The director herself is a woman. So is the production designer, sound editor, cinematographer and art director.

“One of the things I’m proud of about the film is that all the major departments were headed by women”

Said Rubaiyat Hossain.

Production Information

“Made in Bangladesh” to be premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival

The film, which began its production phase on 17th April 2019, chose different locations of Dhaka and Gazipur of Bangladesh as shooting spots and continued for around 36 days.

The film is co-produced by Bangladesh, France, Denmark, and Portugal. It was also financed by France’s CNC fund, Norway’s Sørfond plus, the EU’s Eurimages fund and Denmark’s Danish Film Institute fund. Pyramid International is the French distributor and international sales agent for the film.

A big step for Bangladeshi films

Not saying there are no good films being made in our country. Of course, a handful of really good films have been made in the last century. Watching them, people in Bangladesh have been growing a better taste in the moving pictures. And “Made in Bangladesh” helps this process to gain momentum.

TIFF 2019 premiering “Made in Bangladesh’ is indeed a huge move forward for Bangladeshi films.

It is promising and hopeful for the young aspiring filmmakers. Especially, the story on screen and behind the camera is motivating for all women.

Bangladesh premier

Rubaiyat Hossain has expressed her anticipations that “Made in Bangladesh’ will be soon premiered at the Dhaka Internation Film Festival. She also expects for a local distributor to make her film commercially available to Bangladeshi audience through cinema halls. 

We cannot wait to watch it!

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Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Recently, I came across an article stating, “People stop discovering music after 30”. This is a rather downlifting study for many of us. There will never be a shortage of great music. But most often they are unnoticed and dominated by substandard crap. Bangladeshi millennials can boast of the band music scene they have grown up listening since the 2000s. Speaking of, have we given due attention to the bands who rightfully deserved it?

Read more: Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

Making a career as a band musician is hard in Bangladesh. Many promising bands have shown their potential but eventually gravitated towards other professions. Apparently making music can barely pay your bills. So this article is a homage to the bands who have shown tremendous musicianship but faded out of the scene. Some of them went abroad, others are inactive…or subject to typical rockstar feud.

Icons

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Icons is an alternative rock band who released their debut album Ishshoronio in 2005. Before landing a studio album deal with G-series, Icons made quite a name through various mixed albums. Yours truly still fantasizes about their reunion show…maybe in the distant future.

Notable tracks: Oporanho, Ishshoronio, Neon

Read more: Sodium Batir Gaan – changing the culture of open air music

Vibe

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

If I could resurrect one band from dormancy, it would be VIBE. This alternative/heavy metal band created a lot of buzz when their album ‘Chena Jogot’ hit the market in 2007. I remember my peers complimenting about Vibe by saying, “they could be the next Artcell!”. Let’s not go into comparison because Vibe have created a sound of their own. Please come back, we need you!

Notable tracks: Shesher opashe, Nostalgia, Shopnodeb

Read more: Bangladeshi graphic novels: 5 essential reads

The Watson Brothers

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Cryptic Fate and The Attempted Band, two bands that varied in genre, got together to form ‘The Watson Brothers’. Thankfully, the chemistry worked very well. In 2003, TWB released their album “Ohom”. The band may not be around anymore, but their songs are actively performed by Cryptic Fate (which is a relief).

Notable tracks: Rong, Akash, Ohom

Minerva

Great Bangladeshi bands that disappeared after their debut album

Minerva came into limelight with their epic medley of 19 minutes (A tribute to Bangladeshi bands). It transcended every frontier of awesomeness that to call it a cover will be an understatement. But the groove metal band have cemented their position in the music scene with their debut album “Biday Shongbidhan” (2013). The band has been inactive for quite a while. We can only hope their comeback with this year’s Rocknation.

Notable tracks: Ashirbaad, Jaatra, Mrittur Shesh Choy

These artists attest to the fact “Quality matters, not quantity”.

The mentioned bands gave us priceless music. The only thing we demand from them is a reunion gig.

Remember, hope is a great thing!

Watch: Zamor, a Bangladeshi in the French Revolution

(Album artworks featured in this article are courtesy of banglacdcovers.blogspot.com. Head over to their blog to see hi-res scanned image of old, new and rare CD covers)

Live From Dhaka: A man’s journey through the bleak underbelly of Dhaka

As a young adult who’s been born and brought up in Dhaka, much of our generation view the city in rose-tinted glasses online or in media. In the age of social media, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t familiar with aesthetic photos of Dhaka from numerous Instagram posts or through popular song lyrics. #JadhurShohor. But the stark reality is that living in this city is much grimmer than it might seem. The dog eat dog nature of Dhaka has been beautifully portrayed in the recently released film “Live from Dhaka.

Nothing but the truth

Written and Directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, “Live from Dhaka”, chronicles the days of Sazzad, the protagonist played by Mostafa Monwar, and his miserable state of life in the city of Dhaka. Sazzad being unemployed and partially handicapped is seen as a guy down on his luck after losing most of his money when the Dhaka Stock Exchange crashes.  In addition to his own physical and economic woes, he is being hounded by loan sharks and has to deal with his younger brother who’s plagued by addiction. Although receiving some support and solace within his girlfriend Rehana, played by Tasnova Tamanna, Sazzad decides to cut all his losses and permanently move to Russia.

A grim depiction of Dhaka

But as events transpire, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to escape the gritty reality of Dhaka. The harsh bleakness of his situations was beautifully portrayed in black and white throughout the movie before some very beautiful backdrops of Dhaka.

The film also didn’t shy away from showing the darker underbelly of Dhaka.

By the end of the film, you really start feeling for the protagonist but also reminded of how he is isn’t that different from everyone else.

The verdict

The acclaimed independent film has been gaining much hype among Bangladeshi film enthusiast back since 2016. It had premiered in a number of International Film festivals around the world and winning Best Actor and Best Director awards at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) in 2016. The Film was finally released in Dhaka, Bangladesh in Bashundhara City Star Cineplex, on March 29. With stunning visuals, gripping story and comfortable runtime of 1hr and 31mins, you should definitely catch this tale about our beloved Dhaka.

Get your tickets from here

Through Her Eyes: Celebrating and inspiring women filmmakers in Bangladesh

Women have been making films from the beginning of film production history but when it comes to nam a few, we realize how strikingly less number of women are prominent in the field than men filmmakers around the world. In Bangladesh, we currently see a number of women filmmakers actively creating and working in all genres of filmmaking; women like Samia Zaman, Meher Afroz Shaon and  Shuchanda only to name a few. These women set an example for female film enthusiasts around the world given how it still remains a challenge for a woman to be a film director and continue to create in this line of work. ‘Through Her Eyes’ is an attempt to inspire women in this field and celebrate those who carved out that opportunity for themselves despite the challenges.

What is Through Her Eyes?

Through Her Eyes: Celebrating & Inspiring Women Filmmakers In Bangladesh 7

In cooperation with the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh (IFIB), Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, launched a new film screening and discussion series “Through Her Eyes – A space to watch and discuss films with women filmmakers of Bangladesh” on Sunday, 20th January, 2019 at 5 PM.

It is a series of screening sessions of movies directed by prominent Bangladeshi women filmmakers, followed by discussion sessions with them, the entry being free for all.

They will be screening a movie on every third Sunday of each month at the Goethe-Institut auditorium at 5 pm for everyone to join and celebrate & inspire women in the film industry. It is undoubtedly an amazing opportunity for both male and female film enthusiasts, students, academics, professionals and people from all walks of life to come together to watch award-winning films by women filmmakers currently working in Bangladesh and to interact with them directly at the end of the screening.

What happened on the first day?

As part of the initiative, the first day included a screening of the film “Under Construction” directed by Rubaiyat Hossain that was followed by a highly interactive Q&A session held at Goethe-Institut Bangladesh auditorium. The film is a realistic representation of the life of a modern Muslim woman struggling to find herself in the sprawl of male-dominated urban Bangladesh.

Film synopsis:

Still from the film Under Construction

In the constantly changing dynamic city of Dhaka, Roya, an actress in her early thirties, has to face her first challenge. She has been playing the same part repeatedly for years now, working for a stage director who now thinks she’s getting too old in spite of her young age. She enters a deep introspection about her life, her desires, her art and her place in the patriarchal society. Rubaiyat Hossain’s film Under Construction provides the portrait of a woman, whose life is still under construction.

The guests were clearly impressed by the emphasis on the details in the film and the story itself. One of the guests, Nadira who aspires to be a filmmaker told us she was overwhelmed to see a woman just like her creating something so brilliant. “The film was so impressively time-frame focused and realistic; the details were so carefully worked on. It was amazing!” she told us.

Why you should definitely go:

“The film inspired me to keep moving, no matter where life takes us. What really matters the most is if you’re still doing what you love”

Said Sadia who also told us that every moment of the event was worth it to her.

Besides the chance for us to come together and watch amazing creations of these inspiring women, the monthly programme will also be a space for young filmmakers, academics, film enthusiasts to engage in discussions, to learn about opportunities and career paths to critically interrogate societal relations. Moreover, the event promotes networking and will help us find out about the industry and important aspects for rising filmmakers like what kind of challenges should young filmmakers be ready for and what role can others play in this. What’s better? It’s free! So if you want to spend a Sunday evening watching something worthwhile, this is it!

Find out more about the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2099870576979355/

Keep an eye on the page of Goethe-Institut Bangladesh for the upcoming screening next month. Here’s the link to the page: https://www.facebook.com/goetheinstitut.bangladesh/ 

About the director of Under Construction:

Rubaiyat Hossain, one of Bangladesh’s handful of female filmmakers is known for her critically acclaimed debut feature film Meherjaan (2011) which due to its anti-war narrative, and critic of masculine nationalism from a feminine point of view, faced political and cultural outrage in Bangladesh. It was stripped down fromtheatres across the country only a week after its release and is still prohibited from being screened. While Under Construction (2015) is her second film that has won several national and international awards, she just finished the shoot for her upcoming film Made In Bangladesh.

Through Her Eyes: Celebrating & Inspiring Women Filmmakers In Bangladesh 3

Having completed her B.A. in Women Studies from Smith College, USA and M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, she is currently attending the Tisch School of Arts at New York University in Cinema Studies while living between Dhaka and New York making films. Besides being a filmmaker, she is an interdisciplinary research scholar and has worked for prominent women’s rights NGOs in Bangladesh like Ain O Shalish Kendra, Naripokkho and The Asia Foundation. Moreover, she was the assistant coordinator for the first international workshop of Sexuality and Rights organized by BRAC School of Public Health in 2007 and has also worked as a part-time lecturer in the Department of Economics and Social Sciences at BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Finding Bangladesh: In search of Bangladesh’s lost legends

The second documentary of the Finding Bangladesh series, Bangladesher Harano Golpo was premiered last Friday, 26th October in KIB. Directed by Adnan M.S. Fakir, the second documentary comes out after ten long years since the first one. And it certainly lived up to the hype.

As the documentary runs on the screen, it slowly introduces to us, the lost tales and myths of Bangladesh. Makara, the mythological creature, Gazi and his army of tigers and Bonbibi, the guardian of Sundarbans, all come to life in the captivating narrative of the documentary. The journey takes us on a thrilling ride through our own mythology and history. Often in the tone of complaint and occasional comic relief.

In terms of its content, Bangladesher Harano Golpo deserves nothing less than a solid five-star rating.

In 76 minutes of its runtime, we learn more about Bangladesh and its rich tales than any history books have ever taught us. The Finding Bangladesh team has spared no expense in researching and crafting the stories beautifully. Animations and skilled cinematography bought the legends to life as the team take us through 17 historical locations across Southern Bangladesh.

But one might criticise it for its incoherent style of narrative. The sudden English narratives in the middle of continuous Bangla seemed to have served no apparent purpose. And Safdar Doctor’s comic relieves were enjoyable but it continued to break the immersion.

Nevertheless, Bangladesher Harano Golpo has been an enthralling journey through our history and legends. It serves its overall purpose with a fine touch of expertise, that is, to aware and educate us of our own heritage. The effort of Adnan M.S. Fakir and his team in digging out our roots and the tremendous amount of research that went into making it is commendable, to say the least. We eagerly look forward to what the misfits on the loo on wheels bring us next.

Sincerely Yours, Dhaka: Bangladeshi anthology in Busan Film Festival

“Sincerely Yours, Dhaka”, a Bangladeshi anthology film, has been selected to screen at Busan International Film Festival, this October.

Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea is one of the most significant film festivals in Asia, recognizing outstanding film making for the last 22 years.  “Sincerely Yours, Dhaka” is the only entry from Bangladesh. It has been selected in the festival’s “A Window on Asian Cinema” section which highlights different styles and visions within Asian cinema.

The film is the first anthology film of Bangladesh, made up of 11 short films by 11 young Bangladeshi filmmakers. The filmmakers are Abdullah Al Noor, Golam Kibria Farooki, Krishnendu Chattopadhyay, Mahmudul Islam, Md Rabiul Alam, Mir Mukarram Hossain, Nuhash Humayun, Rahat Rahman, Syed Ahmed Shawki, Syed Saleh Ahmed Sobhan and Tanvir Ahsan.

Ranging from bizarre, heartwarming to heartbreaking, this anthology film will take the audience on a bittersweet journey through Dhaka City. A background actor who’ll do anything to be the star. A wannabe gangster who’s out to prove himself. Two young girls who just want to get a drink in a city where alcohol’s illegal. An attempted murder, a stolen car, a refugee crisis – these stories make up Sincerely Yours, Dhaka.
Sincerely Yours, Dhaka is a love letter to a city that is often difficult to love.

11 vignettes by 11 Bangladeshi filmmakers come together to tell fragmented stories about one character – Dhaka City itself.

The film is Produced by Impress Telefilms. It is currently in post-production and will be released in Bangladesh as soon as the censor board gives clearance.

It is a proud achievement for the industry and the nation, for the efforts of young Bangladeshi directors to be recognized, on their first go of this genre and format, on an international platform.