Russian drama Family Offline and Bangladeshi documentary Jhalmaliya - The Sacred Water – were named the best films in the international competition section at the ISIFF awards, which concluded the 14th edition of the International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka, on Saturday.
Russian filmmaker George Porotov’s black-and-white drama Family Offline, which took only five days to shoot on the Gulf of Finland, won the best film award at the International Competition – Fiction category.
On the other hand, Bangladeshi filmmaker Saiful Wadud’s documentary Jhalmaliya - The Sacred Water - a climate-change-documentary, which depicted an intimate observation and exploration of the life and living of people in a coastal village of Bangladesh over a six year period in the aftermath of a cyclone, won the best film award at the International Competition – Documentary category.
Another Bangladeshi, Tasmia Afreen Mou received the top award in the Tareque Shahriar Best Independent Short category, for her short film Statement After My Poet Husband’s Death.
Meanwhile, two films got special jury awards – the first, Abid Mallick’s Path, in the Tareque Shahriar Best Independent Short category, while the second, Iranian director Esmaeil Monsef’s Ardak, under the Fiction category.
In NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) category, the best film award went to Mary Mother, by the Afghan director Sadam Wahidi.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, handed over the awards to the recipients in a ceremony held on December 10, at the National Museum Auditorium, Shahbag. Nasiruddin Yousuff, Chairman of the festival committee, filmmaker Syed Imran Hossain Kimrani, Chinese filmmaker Dr Xie Fei, and Indonesian filmmaker Garin Nugroho, among others were also present at the ceremony.
This year, the festival featured over 500 short and independent films from 109 countries. The festival, a Biennale film event, is taking place since 1988. Organised by Bangladesh Short Film Forum, ISIFF is one of the oldest festival of short films organised independently in South Asia, which has been organising with a vision to promote the culture of independent and alternative cinema across the region.