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Linking Young Minds Together
    Volume 5 | Issue 40| October 16, 2011 |


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For all those Wide-Eyed Dreamers

Elita Karim
Photos: Star

Masuma Nasreen Priya is a third year accounting student, studying at a college in the capital. Filled with dreams to do something different and creative in Bangladesh, Priya sometimes feels slightly anxious over the fact that she will be finishing her Bcom Honours in just one more year and will have to get into the master's programme. Priya is an aspiring singer and is also currently learning to play the guitar. "I feel slightly anxious for many reasons!" exclaims the 21-year-old. "Firstly, I have been facing difficulties while trying to balance my classes at college, the extra music classes that I attend and of course spending time with my family at home. Sometimes the streets get so chaotic, I find it difficult to concentrate -- moving in this heat on a bus in the middle of long traffic jams which never

The three instructors along with the festival organizer.

seem to end, from college to Moghbazaar to attend music classes. Secondly, I feel that we should have workshops here in Dhaka, like they do in other countries. For instance, if we had regular music workshops, I and a lot of other student-musicians like me would have the chance to polish up on their skills, not to mention meet, work with and watch established musicians. I was reading online about a university in the southern part of India, where weekly classes were held as a part of a sitar playing workshop, for students outside the university. This was done because that particular university had good teachers and they wanted to share the knowledge with students outside their university. And there are many more examples in other countries as well, where workshops on instruments, vocals, public speaking or even cooking are done, so that young students can develop their skills. I wish we could have such workshops here in Bangladesh as well."

Amitabh Reza
Nurul Alam Atiq
Mejabur Rahman Sumon

As Priya mentions the number of workshops taking place all over the world, specially for young students to develop their skills, the workshop culture has also begun in Dhaka as well, even though, many of them are still organised in the corporate level. However, there are a few individuals and groups who organise small workshops in different fields, limited to their own areas of living of course, where young people watch, listen and learn.

In the middle of watching and analysing.

For slightly over three years now, The Daily Star, in cooperation with the Standard Chartered Bank, has been organising the Celebrating Life -- a series of competitions in the fields of lyrics writing, music, filmmaking and more. Thousands of young people from all over the country had participated and had even won prizes for their masterpieces. In fact, one very interesting element of the Celebrating Life competition is drawing a connection between an amateur song writer with an established music director and singer. For instance, eminent musicians like Bappa Mazumder, Naquib Khan, Fahmida Nabi and many more actually composed and sang the songs that were written by the young people who had won the competitions in the last couple of years. Not only did that encourage these youngsters to continue with their writing,

Rashed Zaman explains his techniques.

but it also made them look into life in a more organised and disciplined manner; the competitions had taught them to work hard and develop a sense of determination to do their best. This year, once again, The Daily Star and Standard Chartered decided to incorporate something different and new in the Celebrating Life project, with an aim to attract more young talents. A two-month film workshop was held where a handful of young people from Dhaka and outside participated and had the privilege to watch the contemporary masters of Bangladeshi films at work.

Sharing ideas was a major part of the filmmaking workshop.

The idea regarding the film making course had actually emerged when thousands of applicants had responded to the filmmaking competition under Celebrating Life. "We received lots of short films, ad films even feature films and they were all made by very young makers, who were mostly students," says Rafi Hossain, the festival coordinator. "The response was so huge in this category that both the years were literally confused as to how to choose between the films. Clearly, the young people in our country have a solid vision when it comes to filmmaking; however, there were errors, questions arose and we felt that these young people can do so much better. That is when we decided to organise a film making workshop for these young makers to learn and share their ideas with the big names in the industry. As always, Standard Chartered bank has been there to support us with this project."

The 'big names' that Rafi Hossain refers to are Amitabh Reza, Nurul Alam Atiq and Mejbaur Rahman Sumon, three household names in the fields of ad films, documentaries and cinema. "The experience was great," exclaims Amitabh Reza. "It was a learning process for me as well, since I, along with my two colleagues, are not actual teachers of film. It was wonderful to interact with a bunch of young and enthusiastic filmmakers."

Call for applications were made earlier this year in January, when young people under the age of 30 were asked to apply for the course and to send in a portfolio if they had one. There were some who had excellent demo works along with recommendations, and others who were simply dreamy eyed youngsters with lots of ideas to spare. Classes had officially started in August and ended in October. Out of the thousand applications, 30 were selected for the class, where only 19 got to stay till the end and are now working with the three filmmakers / instructors in groups. The day-long classes which were held every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, discussed techniques, ideas and also showed lots of films, both from the golden era and contemporary times. Along with the three main instructors, there were also guest instructors who had come to spend the day with the students and share their ideas, namely, Jahidur Rahim Anjan, Jakir Hossain Raju, Ratan Paul for sound, cinematographer Rashed Zaman, Jewel in editing, Film Maker Mostofa Sarwar Farooki as guest lecturer and many more.

The groups who have been assigned to the three directors are to brainstorm their ideas and make a total of three films which will be produced by Celebrating Life. These films will surely have the young flavour, elements of honesty and imagination -- vital fundamentals for any kind of creator.

Workshops encourage young people to thin and develop their skill

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