Let the Stories Roll
When a bunch of youngsters try their hand at filmmaking, what you get is a few quirks and a whole lot of freshness. Cinema in all its different forms, have essentially mirrored the voices of the times. Whether or not armed with morals, they have, more importantly, always been the platform for creativity at its best. We may still be taking toddler steps when it comes to making films, but the potentiality is undeniable, and is surely indicating a brighter future. This was proven by the initiative taken by the North South University Cine and Drama Club (NSUCDC). The month-long Short Film Festival, a dream that had been nurtured by the club and its members for a long time now, began on June 22 and continues in its final stage, and has unearthed gems that would go a long way for the future of Bangladeshi film making.
The organisers of the festival. Courtesy: NSUCDC
Although the initiative began with quite the humble beginning, the hype picked up among the NSUers, surprising even the organisers. The wave of response it drew was a reminder of the fact that there exists a storyteller in each one of us, with bagfuls of stories bursting at the seams to be told and shared. Dr Abdus Selim, Faculty Advisor of the club drew upon the unexpectedness of it all, “We had never imagined it to grow so big; there can be a whole new generation of filmmakers and this event is a perfect testimony to that”. The festival jumped off with a week long workshop that was conducted by a few eminent directors of the country. Far from being the kind of workshop that makes one question one's sanity for considering being present, this series of workshops was attended with full participation; hands-on activities kept students glued. The directors let students work with the cameras they had brought with them, making it quite an enjoyable beginner's experience.
After the workshops came the next step: making the short films. Students were given two weeks to prepare their short films. Mahjabeen Chowdhury, club President, shares stories of how the participants scrambled to capture their stories with whatever means available to them. “Some went to the lengths of renting professional cameras, which is quite expensive. In spite of them all being amateurs, the level of perfection they strived for was inspiring.”
The themes for the short films sprung from the different kinds of dilemmas that a youth faces; themes of love and hope were also ingrained in most. Rooted to the context of our times, the films spoke of the constant contradictions that Bangladeshis live with. The films were screened at the Recreation Centre in the University for two days after which the students from the audience cast their votes for the most popular short film, a category alongside the Critic Award, for the films that were determined by the judges. So on July 29, the young filmmakers geared up for the award ceremony held at the NSU Recreation Centre. Filmed on simple handycams, the two films that won the two categories both dealt with the changing faces of relationships and the yearnings of a young heart. Tobuo Bhalobashi, directed by Shakhawat Hossain, Anik Islam and Mehedi was awarded the most popular film. The film that bagged the Critic Award was The Wait, directed by Rajdeep Das. Dr. Abdus Selim, together with popular film and theatre personalities, Abu Sayeed and Golam Rabbani made up the panel of judges. The judges looked back at the difficulties they had faced when choosing the winning film, saying it had undoubtedly been a very tight competition. The films will go on to be screened at Goethe Institut, Alliance Francaise and the British Council.
The organisers hope to return with similar events in the future. “We want to take this competition to Intra-university level. Such events will prompt the role of youngsters in films and theatre”, comments the club president. Faculty advisor, Dr Abdus Selim is hopeful for the future of Bangladeshi films, “We need talented people who are creative and have aesthetic sense, and it can come from the youngsters”. True, when one does not waste a second to flick to the next channel upon bumping into a scene from a Bangla cinema, events like these are sure to breathe some fresh air.
DID YOU KNOW?
John Forbes Nash Jr.
Initially aspiring to become an engineer like his father, John Forbes Nash Jr, developer of the Game Theory and 1994 Nobel Prize Winner, changed his major to chemistry after performing poorly in mechanical drawing. He also had trouble with a physical chemistry class and he was convinced by his calculus instructor, John Synge, to major in mathematics. In 1948, Nash was awarded the John S. Kennedy Fellowship at Princeton University. While at Princeton, Nash invented two board games. The first, called "Nash" or "John," was a two-person, zero-sum game, meaning that one player's advantage must result in a proportional disadvantage for the opponent. Unlike other zero-sum games such as chess and tic-tac-toe, a tie or draw was impossible in Nash's game. The game had been invented independently from Nash and eventually was marketed in the 1950s as Hex. Nash also collaborated with several students to create the game "So Long, Sucker," a multiple-player game that rewarded the player most skilled at deception!
Information Source: Internet.