To celebrate the 20 years celebration of BIMSTEC, the organisation, in collaboration with Rainbow Film Society, has arranged a five-day film festival at the BIMSTEC Secretariat premise in Gulshan, Dhaka. The first ever BIMSTEC Film Festival is slated to commence on July 22 and will end on July 26.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) consists of a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
A press conference was held to announce the schedule of the festival on Thursday at the BIMSTEC Secretariat, Dhaka. Ambassador Sumith Nakandala, secretary General of BIMSTEC, S M Nazmul Hasan, director (Bangladesh), Kunzang Namgyal Tshering, director, Bhutan, Pankaj Hazarika, Director, India, Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, festival director, Dhaka International Film Society, were present at the conference, among others.
Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu will inaugurate the festival on the morning of opening day, where state minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Shahriar Alam, will join as a special guest. Secretary general of BIMSTEC, ambassador Sumith Nakandala, will preside over the inaugural ceremony.
The five-day film festival will screen 16 selected films from the seven member states. Opening with Bangladesh’s Anil Bagchir Ekdin, three other Bangladeshi films, Aynabaji, Bapjaner Bioscope and Oggatonama, will also be exhibited during the festival. Four Indian films including, Jolly LLB, Drishyam, Mary Kom and Manjhi- The Mountain Man, are on the list of films. Bhutan’s Kushuthara (Pattern of Love), Myanmar’s By Coincidence and Made In Heart, Sri Lanka’s Madhura Charika, Nepal’s Dying Candle and Kalo Pothi (The Black Hen), and Thailand’s The Crown and Boxing in Love will also be screened at the festival.
The secretary general of the cooperative organisation, ambassador Sumith Nakandala, said that the initiative of an international film festival has been taken to promote understanding among the people of the region and deepen interpersonal contact among the member states.
“One of the key areas the organisation works on is to promote understanding and build contacts among the seven member states across the Bay of Bengal. We’ve thought that cinema is a very important media and a powerful tool to bring people together. It has a unique language in itself. So, we chose films from our diverse region to celebrate our 20 years,” said the ambassador.
“There were a number of proposals regarding the celebration, including photo exhibition, musical concert, film festival. But we’ve finally banked on the film festival, as it is considered as one of the strongest mediums to communicate with people from a diverse background. This is the best and easiest way to reach out to people,” said Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, who is also involved with Rainbow Film Society.
The selected films will be projected at 2pm, 4pm, and 6:30pm everyday throughout the festival. The first BIMSTEC Film Festival is an open-for-all platform.