They won the Best Bangladeshi Project Award, and Best Pitch Award for their documentary film project Songs of Sunflower
Abid Sarker Shohag and Sardar Zahidul Islam, two Bangladeshi filmmakers and activists, have recently won two awards at Dhaka DocLab 2019, a documentary co-production project market for South Asian filmmakers in Bangladesh. They won the Best Bangladeshi Project Award, and Best Pitch Award for their documentary film project Songs of Sunflower.
Shohag and Zahid, recent English literature graduates from Jahangirnagar University’s English department, will co-direct and co-produce the project.
The filmmakers did not want to comment on the project before completing its production phase. Zahid told the Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime: “All I can tell you right now is that this documentary film is a story of defiance. It revolves around how a blind musician, and his garment worker wife who depict, yet defy the socio-cultural reality of Bangladesh.”
Shohag told Showtime: “Each of the international producers who attended as tutors at DocLab loved our screenplay, and mood board trailer. They advised us to reshape some portions of the script but said that our trailer was spot on, and the project was very promising.”
“We have completed the first phase of its production just before DocLab, and hoping to start shooting its next phase as soon as we finalize a co-producer from the ones who have recently contacted us,” added Shohag.
Both of the filmmakers stated that their DocLab experience was fantastic, and they learned a lot from the professional and young filmmakers from around the world during the six-day-long event.
Al-Amin Hossain, a student of Jahangirnagar University's Physics department, is one of the cinematographers behind Songs of Sunflower. Nurullah is the executive producer of the project while Dhrubo Das is its editor.
Songs of Sunflower received a cash prize of Tk50,000 for winning Ekattor Television Award for Best Pitch (Bangladesh) and a prize money of Tk1 lac for winning Dhaka Doclab Best Project (Bangladesh) award on Saturday.
Shohag and Zahid are also actively involved in social, students’ rights, and film activism with Zahir Raihan Film Society, and Bangladesh Students’ Union. They are also among the organizers of Bodhichitta, a platform for popular discourse series on philosophy.
The third edition of the film market was held at the capital’s Liberation War Museum in Agargaon in late August. Twenty renowned documentary makers, producers, television broadcasters, film distributors, and representatives of film financing companies from around the world attended the six-day event.
The event aims to open up new possibilities for the country's film production through joint productions with foreign countries. Government and non-governmental organizations, including the Cosmos Foundation, the Bengal Foundation, the Access to Information Project (a2i), along with the Government of Bangladesh are cooperating with this initiative.