Dhaka Courier

3rd edition of Dhaka DocLab: A blessing for aspiring South Asian filmmakers

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Making films had always been a great pleasure for the filmmakers, if they get their desired and needed supports from the society. Distribution of those creative, visual story narratives is also a very significant issue because no one will get the chance to be amazed with the filmmakers’ constant efforts, if the films do not get the proper distribution. Certainly there are several aspects related with filmmaking- and to address, discuss and solve issues related with those aspects, Dhaka DocLab stood beside the up and coming filmmakers of South Asia- for the third time.

Dhaka DocLab, an international documentary co-production project market in Bangladesh which also serves workshops for South Asian filmmakers, inaugurated its 3rd edition on Monday, August 26 at the Liberation War Museum, Agargaon in the capital. The workshop concluded on Saturday, August 31.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam inaugurated the six-day event on August 26 as the chief guest. Dhaka DocLab’s director Tareq Ahmed, trustee of Liberation War Museum Mofidul Haque and Founder/President of Documentary Resource Initiative, Kolkata and Indian director, editor and cinematographer Nilotpal Majumdar attended the event as special guests and expressed their opinion on this initiative through their speeches.

British documentary filmmaker Emma Davie, managing director of Ventana-Film GmbH Hans Robert Eisenhauer, delegate of Taskovski Films Eva Perez, Chinese producer Pei Tianyi and other international guests were honored in the event by the guests. Representing the Master Class instructors, Emma Davie shared her opinion and welcomed everyone to the workshop.

Minister Shahriar appreciated the initiative and invited filmmakers to make more films on the historically significant events of Bangladesh, such as the 15th August assassination and murder of Bangabandhu along with his family.

Dhaka DocLab’s Chairman and prominent cultural activist Nasir Uddin Yousuf chaired the inauguration event. He briefed about DocLab’s initiative to organize workshops on documentary filmmaking all over Bangladesh and informed that it has already covered few divisional cities. He also emphasized to minimize the political distances between South Asian countries through the using of such events and initiatives.

The six-day event was categorized in promising segments, such as mentoring of the participants' projects, film screenings, one-on-one meetings, pitching of the projects and more. Various renowned names from the local and international documentary film circuit are scheduled to attend during the occasion, including twenty renowned documentary makers, producers, television broadcasters, film distributors, and representatives of film financing companies.

The eight instructors who took different seminars and Master Classes during these six days are: Audrius Stonys, filmmaker, Lithuania; Ryota Kotani, executive producer, NHK, Japan; Karolina Lidin, consultant, Sheffield Doc/Fest, Denmark; Nilotpal Majumdar, chairman, Docedge Kolkata, India; Jean Paul F Pauwels, managing director, Congoo bvba, Belgium; Emil Joseph, Editor, UK; Emma Davie, filmmaker, Edinburgh College of Art, UK; and Boris Mitic, filmmaker, Dribbling Pictures Ltd, Serbia.

‘A Mandolin in Exile’ by Rafiqul Anowar (Bangladesh), ‘Back to Home’ - Upali Gamlath (Sri Lanka), ‘Discount Workers‘- Ammar Aziz (Pakistan), ‘Fishfinger Seductions’ - Sarvnik Kaur (India), ‘The Secret Ancestral Village’ - Torsha Banerjee (India), ’Basu's Ecosystem’ - Ekramul Kabir (Bangladesh), ‘Punch Me Hard’ - Biswajit Das (India), ‘Beyond All The Colours’ - Saiful Wadud Helal (Bangladesh/Canada), ‘Murshida’ - Moupia Mukherjee (India), ‘Songs of Sunflower’ - Abid Sarker Shohag (Bangladesh), ‘Outsider’ - Kanishka Sonthalia (India), ‘Wishes of Thimphu’ - Arun Bhattarai (Bhutan), ‘Dolls Don’t Die’ - Ranajit Ray (India), ‘Waiting For Winter’ - Farid Ahmad (Bangladesh), ‘NOC’ - Qazi Krishnakali Islam (Bangladesh), ‘Settled to Displace’ - Ripan Kumar Das (Bangladesh), and ‘Two Daughters and the memory of their Father’ - Shopno Samudra (Bangladesh)- have been the final selected participants. From all these projects, ‘Back to Home’ - Upali Gamlath (Sri Lanka), ‘Discount Workers’ - Ammar Aziz (Pakistan), ‘Punch Me Hard’ - Biswajit Das (India), ‘Wishes of Thimphu’ - Arun Bhattarai (Bhutan), and NOC - Qazi Krishnakali Islam (Bangladesh) are awarded with scholarship support to attend Dhaka DocLab. This scholarship includes round trip air travel, waiver of fees, and accommodation during their stay in Bangladesh as part of the lab. Unfortunately, Ammar Aziz from Pakistan was not able to attend the event due to visa related issues, according to the organizers.

The inaugural session ended with screening of the documentary film ‘Bridges of Time’, directed by Lithuanian maker Audrius Stonys. He also briefed about the film to the audiences, prior to the screening.

Dhaka Independent Film Network (DIFN) is organizing the 3rd edition of DocLab this year, which has been organizing the event since 2017. The event will comprise a 4-day mentoring along with a 2-day documentary project pitching sessions. The budget of this six-day-long international workshop is set at Tk 35 lakh. Government and non-governmental organizations, including the Cosmos Foundation, the Bengal Foundation and the Access to Information Project (a2i), along with the Government of Bangladesh are cooperating with this initiative.

The 3rd Edition of Dhaka DocLab concluded on August 31, 2019. Cosmos Foundation had been a sponsor at this year’s edition of Dhaka DocLab- and a gala rendezvous was arranged to honor the instructors, participants and organizers at Cosmos Centre on the concluding night.

Dhaka Courier’s Editor-in-Chief and the Founder-Managing Director of Cosmos Group Enayetullah Khan appreciated the effort and addressed the partnership, saying “I hope this lab will be a productive hub for South Asian creative contents and reality-based story telling that can spur change and progress in our part of the world. As the Cosmos Foundation, our slogan is engaging the nation, the region and the world. We hope that we can all work together, and we want to say and commit that Cosmos Foundation will continue to work, support and collaborate with Dhaka DocLab.”

  • DhakaCourier
  • Issue 9
  • Md. Ishtiak Hossain
  • Vol 36
  • 3rd edition of Dhaka DocLab: A blessing for aspiring South Asian filmmakers

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