International Film Fest: Kids Only
Photos: Mithila Guha
A common complaint: there is nothing much to do, especially for the kids. Other than doing school work and watching Hindi translated cartoons, there's actually quite nothing from where children can appreciate true art and learn something valuable. But luckily CFS (Children Film Society) Bangladesh steps in with their annual international film fest to develop the children's mind with more of a creative aspect and class.
For the 6th time CFS Bangladesh has organised the “International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh” all over Bangladesh. For one week children up to age of 18 can see the astonishing movies at selected venues. The children's film festival has always been a huge hit among the kids. Not only would they get to watch a number of award winning movies from around the world, but the kids who have a soft spot for making movies and creating something different can also showcase their talents here. The festival is accompanied by a competition for children film makers. A child jury will judge the films and awards will be given to the five best ones.
The festival this year started from January 19, featuring over 200 films from 42 countries in 22 venues in seven divisional cities. Divided into two phases, the inaugural ceremony was held at the Central Public Library premises and the Main Auditorium of National Museum in Dhaka. The organisers brought out a procession during the interval between two phases of the inaugural programme. Mustafa Monwar, veteran artist and chairman of the festival advisory committee, formally inaugurated the festival. Pascal Villeneuve, UNICEF representative in Bangladesh, was the guest of honour, and Canadian filmmaker Nancy Trites Botkin was special guest. Dr Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, author and president of Children's Film Society Bangladesh and Morshedul Islam, filmmaker and festival director also addressed the audience at the inaugural event. After the inauguration, 'Water for Life', 'The Window', 'Ambitious' and 'Tony Ten' were screened.
Guests inagurating the festival
The festival officially started from January 20 in several venues around Dhaka like Central Public Library, National Museum, British Council, Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, Alliance Francaise de Dhaka (Dhanmondi and Uttara) and Daffodil International University. The number of venues in Chittagong is seven; in Rajshahi, four; and one each in Rangpur, Khulna, Sylhet and Barisal.
Children all over the country participated at the festival. Schools all over have been taking children to the venues to watch these great movies. The CFS committee has also been taking under privileged children to the screenings so that no kids are left behind.
Tanvir Alim, coordinator of culture programs at Goethe Institute says, “We have always been with CFS from the start providing there festivals. This is a remarkable initiative. You won't see many doing such a remarkable effort for the sake of entertaining children.” Duria Ismat Jahan, a student of Biam Laboratory School says, “I have been going to the CFS festivals for 3 years now. I always look forward to this event. This is like Cannes Film Fest for us. I dream one day, my short film will be screened here.”
Not only is this a festival for children, it is also organised by them every year. All the volunteers who are working all day and night to get the fest going are all a bunch of kids. So we can be quite certain that the future of motion pictures in Bangladesh is in good hands!
The young thriving audience at the festival
About CFS: Children's Film Society Bangladesh is an organisation working for children on the issue of film. It was established on 17th August 2006 realising the art of film to be the most powerful and was not being used for our children properly as a strong tool for learning and entertainment. The society was formed in a meeting by some leading educationists, writers, cultural and film society activists of the country, which was presided over by Professor Anisuzzaman, The society started its operation from 10th September 2006 by organising a 3-day-long film session at the auditorium of Goethe-Institute Bangladesh. As a part of it's regular activities, the society organises monthly screenings and sessions of children's films of different countries for its members. The society is run by a 15-member-executive committee formed for a term of two years. At present, Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, a leading writer, educationist and social activist, is the president and Munira Morshed Munni, a leading female photojournalist, is the general secretary of the organisation. Besides, the sociey has an advisory committee headed by eminent artist Mustafa Monwar. The organisation has successfully organised five International Children's Film Festivals in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.