Thoughts on Celebrating Life
“Filmmaking needs Life's Experiences next to Talent”
When I think about the current generation of producers and filmmakers of today who are involved in audio-visual work, I really feel that they have a lot of talent. They are definitely doing appreciable work. But it's not as if the generation preceding them did not have talent, they have done commendable work as well. In my opinion, their work was comparatively more qualitative than what is being produced today. Talent in our country has always been there, and still exists. But, talent is only a fraction of what is required for good filmmaking.
Filmmaking needs skill and life's experiences next to talent. A good filmmaker needs to be down to earth; in order to grow, he or she needs to experience the life that different people in different places lead. Regardless of how small the project is, it must be within a framework that not only incites talent, but also involves a process of self-learning. Making a film is not comparable to painting or song-writing; it demands both mental and physical stamina. Patronage is also an important part.
The youth of our country definitely have a lot of talent. But, I feel that this talent is not being driven in the most appropriate way. I feel a tremendous lack of method behind the work; lack of a system, so to speak. There something very basic missing from the recipe being followed. Perhaps with time, better structure, groundwork and research, film makers can rise beyond such shortcomings.
There are various awards and accolades in Bangladesh. But, without a nation-wide reach, I don't feel that these awards are valuable. Furthermore, without monetary prizes attached with such awards, I don't feel that these awards are valuable. There is no doubt that monetary incentives provide a definite motivation to participants of competitions. In this regard, I deeply appreciate the efforts of the Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank in organizing Celebrating Life Competitions. This contest awards film makers, photographers and lyricists with a respectable amount of cash prizes, motivating and enabling the winner to do better work. I also feel that the organizers have made the award even more prestigious with the presence of the Honourable President of Bangladesh. None of the award winners will forget receiving their crests and certificates from the President himself. I must stress that the success of Celebrating Life lies in its ability to reach people of the country. The competition must be popularized to increase diversity and quality.
In talk shows and discussions, we always see those on the screen of the film, actors and actresses. It must be remembered that those behind the screen are equally important. Other than directors and producers, a successful production involves the work of various people, including sound crew, cameraperson, screenwriter, editor, etc. I applaud Celebrating Life for introducing Critics' Awards section and for bringing these people to the limelight.
To those who have received the awards, I urge you to keep working actively. Take the award seriously and use it to drive your work. But don't remain bounded by the contest either; explore new subjects and new circumstance in your projects. After all, a film presents different elements that exist in society.
The most important role for us at the moment is to groom those who are working in the field right now, to guide them towards a deeper understanding of how to use the power of filmmaking. Institutional training should be considered as well. We need to make the current generation of filmmakers realize how to approach their work with careful thought and consideration. There exists various social limitations in our country, we need to overcome them and make the path towards the future easier to tread. And we need to work together towards that end.
Tareque Masud is a renowned film director. He served as the Head of the Jury Panel of Celebrating Life’s Film Contests.
“Celebrating Life Shows the Diversity of Life of Country People”
Md. Rashid Un Nabi
Celebrating Life has become a popular cultural platform in our country, organized by the Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank. Every year it is a common forum for photography, film and lyrics contest where anyone can participate. It first started in 2008 and I was one of the contestants. I became a jury member in 2009 and also served as one in Celebrating Life 2010. To me, it is not only a contest but shows the diversity of life of our country people.
Every year there is a different theme. The theme of 2009 was Womanhood. We have seen the life of women from different perspectives and thousands of photographs submitted from all over the country brought our picturesque country's land and people to our screen. So many great photos were there, but we could only award a few.
I was personally interested in this contest as because the jury board was composed of people who had trained eyes but were from different backgrounds, so they each brought their perspective to the table. So everybody's interpretation was different which lead to a proper evaluation and I felt that the most deserving candidates were rewarded. In 2010, the theme was “Indomitable Bangladesh”. To my surprise, many artists did not understand the theme properly and therefore submitted work that was not in keeping with the theme of the contest. We were quite unhappy. Those were not sure about the meaning of the theme should have consulted someone knowledgeable, or at least a dictionary! I'm sure the organizers would have clarified if only these participants had contacted them. We were quite perplexed as to why almost two-thirds of the photographs submitted had nothing to do with the theme.
Viewing the photographs using the multimedia projector four hours was quite tough. So I suggest the organizers to print out the photographs at the final stage of the contest before the ultimate winners are chosen. I feel that makes it easier to compare photographs and makes the adjudication process fairer.
I am quite saddened at the unexpected loss of our Photography Jury Head Dr. Nowajesh Ahmed. And I thank the organizers for naming the Lifetime Achievement Award in Photography in his name. I hope that Celebrating Life continues to be organized every year with a different and exciting theme, and that it continues to inspire the youth of Bangladesh.
The writer is Consultant Radiation Oncologist at United Hospital Limited in Dhaka. He served as a jury panel member for Celebrating Life 2009 and 2010 competitions.
“A Needed Platform that Nurtures talents”
I have been affiliated with the Standard Chartered Daily Star Celebrating Life organizing body nearly since the beginning. Even though I held the position of a judge in both 2008 and 2009, I had committed myself in being somewhat of a consultant as well. For a long time now, I have taken up the struggle of 'distilling purity' out of the garble of songs, from recent times, to rescue the lyrics. To me the Celebrating life initiation means a refined platform. Those of you who have become accustomed to the easier way out and have accumulated wealth, fame, awards, etc. through recognition, it has become nearly impossible to bring them back. But those who are new to the scene can be molded right from the beginning, and the Standard Chartered Daily Star Celebrating Life has risen to the cause as a foundation.
The competition is divided into mainly three categories. Whereas, the Films section contains two categories: Fiction and Documentary. The responses were huge from the very first inauguration of the contest. Able and experienced judges were always selected for each category on the jury boards. The most mentionable aspect is that of the conviction behind the fairness of each judgment of the jury-board, in context of the nation. Even the management did not influence any kind of leniency, or show an unfair use of command, nor made any recommendations. Even from the very first acceptance of an entry to the very last delivery of a judgment went without any interference from the management. And to the very end, each final judgment remained final.
I personally feel that I have a responsibility towards keeping an eye out for the upcoming and new lyricists so that they do not get influenced by anything misleading or tasteless, but rather embrace the immortal beauty of song through purity to build themselves up and learn the proper heart warming mix of rhymes and beats. Just for this reason I find myself paying a visit to ABC radio's weekly program - Celebrating Life - regularly since the end of the 2009 competition.
I was not a part of the jury board for the 2010 competition. Thus proof of the judges' great abilities were evident to me only on attending the elegant awards giving ceremony on 30th November. It was a very wonderful evening for me. A surprise was waiting for me at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium. As I was about to be seated, it caught my attention that I was going to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Right next to me was seated the respected Mustafa Monowar and beside him Rashid Talukder. They were both awarded the same honor as me in the categories of Film and Photography respectively. To have had my name alongside these talented two names was a matter of great admiration to myself. The Honorable President, Zillur Rahman, gave out the prizes at the ceremony to the Lifetime Achievement awardees, the recipients of the Critic Awards, and to the first, second, and third place holders from each category by his own hands. He had inaugurated the photo exhibition of the photography contest in the foyer of the premises prior to the ceremony.
The greatness of the judging capabilities of the jury-board were once again highlighted to me through the performances of the songs along with the display of the photographs in the exhibition. I hope that the Celebrating Life initiation will carry on in motivating the upcoming youth and keep providing a platform to nurture their talents in the days to come.
Mohammad Rafiquzzaman is a veteran song writer who served as the Head of the Jury Panel for Celebrating Life’s Lyrics Contest. He is also the Lifetime Achievement Winner of 2010 in Lyrics Category.
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