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Linking Young Minds Together
  Volume 3 | Issue 05 | February 06, 2011 |


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Dreams in frames

Rakibul Hasan

School children queue up to enjoy a film. courtesy : Rokhsana Islam Beauty

Future in frames' with this theme, the Children's Film Society, Bangladesh had organised the International Children's Film Festival for the fourth time from January 22-28, 2011. This year the films have been screened at fourteen different venues in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi. Like every year, this year a filmmaking contest was also arranged for the juvenile filmmakers. The jury members consist of children who selected and awarded the top three juvenile filmmakers. Munira Morshed Munni, General Secretary of the Children's Film society, emphasises on the importance of film festivals only for the children. Morshedul Islam along with Munira Morshed Munni organised the festival. “It has been amazing to see how the children can carry out all the responsibilities like selling tickets to projecting the films on their own. This festival helps the children not only to develop a creative mind but also to grow leadership qualities,” says Munni.

At the British Council auditorium 'The Shrinks', a movie by Laura Godbold from the United Kingdom was screened. The Shrinks are a gang of children who can shrink up any problem by working collectively. Adults can understand from the movie that they may not have to spend a lot of money to pay for the expensive therapy from the real shrinks, if only they can deal with a problem through sharing and helping out each other. However, the movie was mostly about the fun things done by a bunch of kids who take interest in a lot of things. For example, Josh a member of the Shrinks, wants to be a scientist and often goes through bizarre experiments for the sake of science. Josh believes that technology may not save the world completely but it surely can help us to make things better. Fiona takes interest in painting and as an artist she always keeps a cool head even in the stickiest situations while Rachel loves Karate and approaches the challenges like a true fighter. The fun begins when Pat, the principal of a school approaches the Shrinks with a problem. Pat needs a makeover. Though he loves his pupils at school very much; they seem to consider him a headmaster from the last century. Hearing Pat's problem the Shrinks discuss it in their very own hideout and come up with ideas, for instance, Pat getting a new hobby and a haircut. For the next one week, the Shrinks try out everything to transform the old school headmaster into a much 'cooler dude'. Fiona makes Pat dance to the beats of a rap number with a hip-hop group while Rachel makes him sing with a rock band. Josh teaches him how to be a clown while Shane gets Pat a pair of cool jeans. When he gets back to the school his pupils seem to love him. Pat becomes the ultra-trendy principal to his students by performing with the school jazz band in his new look. As the Shrinks crack another problem it leaves us with the insight that a problem shared is a problem shrunk.

Young jurors handing over the results to Dr. Mohammed Zafar Iqbal, author and a patron of the festival, and organiser Morshedul Islam, Courtesy: Rokhsana Islam Beauty

The next movie screened was 'Tiannai's Ordeal' directed by Zou Pengzhi from China. It is a heartbreaking story about Tiannai, a little schoolgirl who has lost her father and friends in school by a devastating earthquake. Traumatised by the horrible experience, Tiannai suffers from frequent nightmares every night. Tiannai's mom gets Tiannai admitted to a new school. But Tiannai does not feel confident among her new classmates as the terrible memory of losing all her friends at a blink of an eye always chases her. Tiannai always feels embarrassed because her hands got bruised in the earthquake. So she always wears a pair of gloves to hide the scars. Tiannai starts to miss school as she searches for her old schoolbag in the ruins of her old home. During all these desolation, Zou, the new teacher at Tiannai's school comes to her rescue. Zou calms Tiannai by telling her that she should not think of it as the end of her life. Eventually Tiannai gets to know that Zou was also a victim of the earthquake who lost his leg in the earthquake and now walks with the aid of an artificial leg. Being motivated by her teacher, Tiannai starts to move on with her life. Finally Tiannai finds her old schoolbag in the ruins with the help of Zou and all her classmates. One can understand from this exceptional story that there is actually no difference between Tiannai and a small girl from Bangladesh who may have lost her family in natural disasters. Wherever we may live, the indomitable spirit of braving the most challenging situations remains the same in all human beings.

Riddha, one of the volunteers at the Children's Film Festival shares his experience. “I love to be a part of our film festival. There are so many things to learn and enjoy here. I have got the best volunteer award once. I want to be a filmmaker when I grow up,” he explains. Like Riddha, the 4th Children's Film Festival has encouraged hundreds of children across Bangladesh with the dream of finding a niche in the world of films when as s fun and at the same time successful profession.

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