Volume 6 | Issue 11| June 02, 2012|


   Cover Story
   Farmers' Voice

   Star Insight     Home


Cover Story

Winners of 2011

Five years of Celebrating Life

Standard Chartered and The Daily Star have once again organized Celebrating Life 2012. Talented and creative minds are yet again presented with the opportunity to show the world how good they are in film making, photography and lyrics. Keeping all the previous categories intact, the film making workshop continues in a new dimension. This year, the contest enters its fifth year. The intense enthusiasm observed from last four years ignited the spirit of the organizers to hold the contests and workshops in an even grander manner. Learning about the contest has become much easier with several additions to interactivity. The deadline is 30th June, and the pile-up of entries is already taking over the Star Insight Magazine's desk.

Zia Nazmul Islam

There is no lack of contests in Bangladesh. From small street vendors to the large companies, many hold contests, and give away prizes. But, is there a contest which brings the best of creative minds from several fields under one umbrella? Celebrating Life, stepping into its fifth year can claim to be such a contest. To be more accurate, it is not merely a contest, it is literally a celebration - a celebration of life.

With wholehearted support from Standard Chartered Bank, The Daily Star initiated Celebrating Life in 2008. Involvement of two renowned institutions in organizing 'Celebrating Life' didn't bring the reputation it holds today by default. The last four years of its contests proved to be a platform for young creative minds with skillful hands. Moreover, the introduction of 'lifetime achievement award' was the utmost salutation to ones who are considered nothing less than legends.

The first ‘Celebrating Life’ signing ceremony between Standard Chartered and The Daily Star

There are three categories in 'Lifetime Achievement Award'; film, photography and music. A careful process goes into selecting the awardees. It doesn't focus only on the poster-boys of these fields. But on those who are behind the scene – a person who has devoted his/her life to music, film or photography. In terms of music, it can be a vocalist, a composer, a lyricist or even an instrument player. The same goes for the two other categories. A video editor, cinematographer or a script writer and in photography someone who has outstanding contribution to create new photographers can be considered for the award. The selection takes in account that there are many who are living away from limelight, enriching our society with their devotion and passion.

Unlike many other contests, a great feature of 'Celebrating Life Lifetime Achievement Award' is that is avoids posthumous awards. It believes in the fact that one should receive his rightful reward during his lifetime. Therefore, although ‘Celebrating Life’ mourns the death of photojournalist Rashid Talukder, the organizers are proud that in 2010, they were able to hand him the award in person. The acclaimed photojournalist himself said he had never received such honor. The award is also complimented by the likes of Dr. Shahidul Alam, Khandaker Nurul Alam, Soovas Dutta, Mustafa Monowar, and Mohammad Rafiquzzaman.

Another popular contest in 'Celebrating Life' is the best Film Award. The award is segmented into two sections; “Best Debut Film” and the “Best Film”. Contestants can send fiction or non-fiction/documentary films in both segments. The best film should be between 20 - 45 minutes long while debut film can be 3-12 minutes long. Debut films can also be experimental too. The theme of Celebrating Life 2012 is 'Celebrating the Youth of Bangladesh', and the jury board will be expecting the films to be based on the theme. Yet, considering the fact that film making takes up a lot of resources, like time and effort – the theme will not be strictly considered. Storyline contents exploring others themes are also welcome. For debut films, any type of camera can be used; from full professional to digital or even a mobile camera. Contestants must also understand the language of movies, thus be able to differentiate between a movie and a TV production. Celebrating Life is looking for 'film' makers not TV drama makers.

Bitopi Das Chowdhury, Head of Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Without whom ‘Celebrating Life’ could not be possible

Lyrics contest has always been one of the more popular categories in Celebrating Life. Each year more than thousand entries are sent. Because of an enormous number of entries, unlike film contest, the given theme will be strictly followed. Contestants are allowed to send 1-3 lyrics. Lyrics can be in both English and Bangla. The lyrics should be computer-composed. Judges often find it hard to read handwritten lyrics thus may reject a potential winner. It is understandable that many lyricists may not have access to a computer but it must also be granted that a cybercafé is found in any town in Bangladesh where the required services can be found.

Many lyricists have sent poetry books, already composed songs in CDs previous years. Unfortunately, the practice has not reduced even after asking contestants not to do so. One is not doing justice to oneself by sending any material other than typed lyrics because they will not be judged no matter how brilliant they are. Only three lyrics per participant will be entertained. Even the judges can't get past the rules and regulations.

Bangladesh has turned into an epicenter for photography. Bangladeshi photographers are well renowned all over the world. It is a booming profession in the country. As the number of photographers grows in Bangladesh, so do the entries in Celebrating Life. It must be granted that photographers require to be technically sound. Therefore, the rules and regulations of the Celebrating Life and its theme are most strictly maintained by the jury board. Photography entries keep doubling each year. This year it is expected to reach several thousands. The growing number photographs lead to rejecting any photo not fitting the theme no matter how great they are. Contestants are allowed to send 1-3 photographs. Photograph dimension must not be less than 2000 pixels. Photographers also should maintain a printable resolution as the selected photo is required to be printed for exhibition purposes.

Last year, unfortunately there were no awards for Film category due to the lack of quality of the content in entries. To compensate, 'Celebrating Life' added a new segment called 'Film Making Workshop 2011'. Having 3 young talented directors; Nurul Alam Atique, Amitabh Reza and Mejbaur Rahman Sumon as course coordinators, it was successful addition. After an initial selection of 30 participants, 19 were finally chosen to produce films with the guidance of the mentioned directors and produced a total of 10 films.

Taking into account the experience from the previous workshop, rules have been changed for this year. It will be run in a whole new dimension. Upon selection, the participants will be required to pay tk 30,000 each. The ones involved in the workshop feel that the fee will bring only the most willing to take part. Also, at the end of the workshop there will be one full length feature film that will be commercially released. Another attraction is that the participants will be working directly under the guidance of acclaimed film director Ritupanro Ghosh. The workshop is going to be more hands-on than last year. Therefore, the ones who are good at certain element of film making will gain practical experience. This year's workshop will not only help bring out new film makers but will also create potential cinematographers, script writers, sound designers and video-editors.

Celebrating Life doesn't end only in awards and being on the limelight for a few weeks. The most attractive aspect of 'Celebrating Life' contest is the opportunity winners will gain afterwards. On top of being exhibited in Dhaka and in various districts of Bangladesh, the winning photographers get their photographs published in a photo-book and in calendars. The lyricists get their lyrics composed and sung by renowned personalities in the music industry. Later, the songs are released as an album. Many of the film workshop participants gets picked up by directors as assistants or even go onto producing their own productions.

Honorable President of Bangladesh inaugurating a gala event

To ease the process of understanding the rules and regulations you can visit www.celebratinglifebd.com. You will find the most of your inquiries at the website. It answers all possible questions in both English and Bangla. You can also join the group “celebrating life contests” on Facebook. If you are willing to participate in film making workshop, join the Facebook group “celebrating life film making workshop” and talk to previous workshop participants and know about their experiences. You can post/email questions inquiries in the mentioned platforms. Questions are regularly answered and emails replied as quickly as possible. Please remember, no entries will be accepted through email.

The deadline for all entries and application to reach the organizers is 30th June 2012. Register yourself before sending any entries. Within few minutes you will receive a confirmation email with an ID number. Write down the ID and keep it in a safe place. Put your CD/DVD, printed lyrics or application papers in an envelope. On the envelope clearly write down your name, address, email phone number and the ID you received. You can either drop off the envelope at The Daily Star Centre or send it through postal mail at: Rafi Hossain, Festival Director of Celebrating Life & Editor-in-charge of Star Insight Magazine, The Daily Star, Floor 7, 64-65 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue Dhaka - 1215. Or visit- www.celebratinglifebd.com or email at- celebratinglife.contest@gmail.com

Cover Art by Ujjal Ghose


Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2012