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The 2nd International Children's Film Festival
Rise of the young film makers

Those of you who thought film-making was for the old dudes, think again! The 2nd International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh kicked off on January 24, with the theme of setting up the “future in frames”. Prof. Abdullah Abu Sayeed and Chief Guest, Ms. Carol D. Roy from UNICEF Bangladesh inaugurated the ceremony. The opening ceremony was flagged by important personalities such as Festival Advisory Council Chairman Mustafa Munowar, Festival Director Morshedul Islam, Children Film Society President Dr. Zafar Iqbal and General Secretary Munira Murshed. At the ceremony, Prof. Sayeed mentioned how people's minds remain innocent and creative during childhood which is the best time for them to take out their talent.

Screening of 156 films from 40 countries worldwide took place in which 15 of them, directed by children all less than 18 years of age, were part of the competition. There were a total of 103 child delegates from all over the country who were selected through an essay competition. These delegates not only took part in the festival but also in a workshop conducted by Morshedul Islam and other important personalities. In the daylong workshop, children got to know about the basic idea of film-making including technical aspects like sound, framing, composition and etc. They were also shown the difference between a good film and a bad one.

The January 27-29 consisted of daylong seminars held among the child delegates, renowned personas and the press. These were extremely enlightening events where not only the children but the elders got to know a lot about cinema and film-making. Channel-I's head Faridur Reza Shagor announced that the top 5 filmmakers in the competition would be given the opportunity to screen their films on Channel-I.

The festival wrapped up with much applause on January 30. Dr. Zafar Iqbal asked all the children to clap for themselves first and next for their parents without whom the festival would not be possible. He brought out an example of a father who came with his son, an SSC examinee, to the festival so that the child could gain knowledge outside his textbooks. The festival was a success as children from a number of schools attended it. Gushing out from the hall, Daiyan, student of Class-1, South Breeze School exclaimed that he found “The Magic Roundabout” really exciting. He said he would definitely like to come back to the festival in the near future.

The fest not only served as a platform for child contenders but other talented people from the youth. Reehan, whose film Blood Case, premiered in the event thanked Mr. Morshedul Islam and all other involved. He said he never imagined his film, which he completed last November, would get such a huge exposure in front of a large audience. He hoped that the government would take steps in promoting events and films like these in the future.

The film that got the first prize was “Ora”, a 22 minute movie on the life of “tokais” i.e. rubbish collectors. Ironically when this film was being screened, there were a couple of tokais sitting in front. So it was a plus point that children from all backgrounds were allowed to view the films free of cost. We certainly expect that such endeavors are carried out in the future and the talents and flairs of the youth are recognized.

The event was organized by Children Film Society Bangladesh and supported mainly by UNICEF. Venue partners were Central Public Library, Goethe-Insitut, Alliance Française de Dacca, Shawkat Osman Auditorium, Iranian Cultural Center, Russian Cultural Center and British Council.

By Faria Sanjana and Samannoy Ghosh

Black Belt Academy:
A Continued Remembrance

I’ve engaged myself in various activities over the years. Whatever these activities were, each and every one of those falls short in the face of my training in martial arts.

Previous articles have been published in this magazine on this subject, and many of them were centred around the prestigious Black Belt Academy in Gulshan. Just like this one.

Black Belt Academy came to be on March 4, 1990. It began with only one student under Shihan (formerly Sensei) Kazi Muhammad Qais. It has grown from there and then to now become a loving home to hundreds of aspiring students. My own journey into the world of martial arts and Wado-Ryu Karate began the day after my 18th birthday. It wasn't really a birthday present. But looking back, I realize nobody could have given me a better gift. Nor could I have asked for one.

Irrevocably, all past actions have led me up to this point, through the incomprehensible labyrinthine river of life, where just a tiny ripple can have astounding after-effects. I am certain that anything different in my life would have yielded a far different outcome and standing. As it is, all mistakes and all regrets, whatever I may have, are forgiven and forgotten.

As of yet, nothing in my life has affected me so profoundly as my delving into the world of Wado-Ryu. In no place else did I feel I belonged to more. Nothing else has let me develop myself in such a remarkably positive way. When they say that martial arts help in self-development, they're really understating it.

Black Belt Academy is taken care of not by just any single person. Each and every one of us plays a small but crucial role in making this place as special as it is. As Shihan Qais says, “The four walls do not make the dojo.”

WE do. We are the brick and wood, stone and steel; we are the pillars and the foundations; our blood and our sweat are the mortar, the unbreakable glue that binds everything together.

Black Belt Academy has had a good long run. Around 19 years to be exact. And an era is about to come to an end. Due to various reasons and circumstances, the dojo has to shift to a new location, while our current place has to be demolished and brought down. And even though the four walls don't make the dojo, it's still the place where the spirit of Black Belt Academy was born and given meaning to, and where it has cared for us throughout the years, through the joys and tragedies, and made us all better human beings.

Life is mostly about beginnings and ends. Where there's an end, a beginning follows. And so it goes that Black Belt Academy will start anew, rising from the proverbial ashes. Nothing will ever be the same, but then nothing ever is. As par the Black Belt Excellence, we must persevere, we must make sure that our new dojo will be as special as this one, that it too can, and will be a second home to us, and to future students of the art.

I have spent nearly every evening for the last sixteen months at Black Belt Academy, and it was the best damned sixteen months of my entire life. It's a place where you can be six years old in the body of a twenty-oner. It's the place where everybody knows your name. It's the place where regardless of who you are, where you are from, you are family.

I thank you, each and every one of the members of the dojo, whether they are of the past, the present, or the future. I thank the kids that come to me for help, who make every day as funny as the last. I thank my peers for helping to bring out the best in each of us, to light the fire of the black belt spirit. I thank the sempas for their kindness and patience, their friendship, their passion and their unfailing devotion to the dojo. And I thank God for letting me be a part of it all.

Lastly, I thank our Shihan. On behalf of Black Belt Academy, on behalf of my friends and family at the dojo, on behalf of your karatekas, here and everywhere- Thank you for making it possible.

May the future of Black Belt Academy reflect the light of a thousand stars…

Oh. I also thank the ol' faithful punching bag, as old as the dojo itself, for its unending unconditional love, who's been taking 19 years of relentless beatings without a speck of complaint.

By Emil

Bissho Shahitya Kendro Reaches 30!

In a world of thousands of billions of populations, we often underestimate the power of people. We often overlook the changes humans have made in the past or can make in the future. We look up to the heavens for answers, and forget how the solutions lie in our own hands. The power of an educated, informed mass supersedes that of the most powerful weapons of mass destruction, and it is in the hands of the people to make the world a better place.

In spite of such truths, we tend to spend less time in materializing ourselves and generations after us into an informed, united strength. One cannot underestimate role of knowledge, bestowed by literary texts and books into the making of an open-minded, logical, communicated person. Although we put little effort into reading and knowing, we should not forget to salute those who have constantly motivated us towards knowing, towards becoming better individuals.

Thus, with great grandeur and joy, Bissho Shahitya Kendro celebrated its 30th anniversary on 30th January 2009 at the Public Library Campus. In an ensemble of celebrities, festivities, memories and people, the day was spent with a spirit of creating a better tomorrow for generations that follows us. The day-long program incorporated a grand rally, pitha, various traditional delicacies and cultural programs in flair of jubilation with the participation of children, students and general masses.

Bissho Shahitya Kendro was founded in 1978 on 17th December. Over the years, it has reached out to people in almost every district in the country, and even to Bangladeshis living outside the country in various parts of the world. In occasion of its 30th anniversary, revered persona Abdullah Abu Sayeed said, “When someone picks up a good book and reads it, he or she becomes a reader. A reader is always more informed, more thoughtful than others surrounding him or her. Our task is to create an informed younger generation 'Aalokito Manush' and books can act as a medium in reaching that goal.”

The event was a brilliant success. Held in tandem to the International Children's Festival at the same venue, it was a large gathering of young and old masses. Eminent film makers, artists, novelists, poets and political figures also attended the festival. However, what marked its success were the words that echoed in every soul and voice that united at the celebration.

“History is created through the pages of books. Bissho Shahitya Kendro is creating history. It is a revolution of our time.”

By Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Celebrity dud

"A teacher asked us if anybody knew the names of the continents. I became so excited. It's my first day of 7th grade, I'm in junior high and I know this
answer. So I raised my hand, I was the first one, and I said, 'A-E-I-O-U!'"
-Jessica Simpson



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