Director Rubaiyat Hossain shared the challenges she faced while making international co-productions
The second edition of the daylong conference West Meets East was held on Tuesday at Dhaka Club. The conference explored opportunities of international collaboration available for young Bangladeshi film-makers. It was a part of the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival, which will conclude on January 19.
The first session titled Challenges in Festival Entry was conducted by eminent Indian film critic Meenakshi Shedde. She asked film-makers to make lists of their top 10 local films from the year and find out which festivals those films travelled to. If a festival is familiar with the works of a country, the chances of a film getting selected from there generally increases, she said.
She also suggested to apply to a few “dream festivals” just in case. Festivals that are dedicated to South Asian or Indian films are easier to get into, she added. She shared a list of festivals directors should target and suggested that they should keep a calendar of submission dates and festival dates.
Among her many other very useful recommendations was that one should always be very serious about subtitling.
“Many films are rejected due to horrible subtitles,” she said. “Don’t just treat it as an afterthought or a favour from someone who knows English.”
Meenakshi was later joined by documentary film-maker N Rashed Chowdhury, who shared a few experiences of his own.
Norwegian distributor Age Hoffart and director Abu Shahed Emon elaborated on the challenges in distribution during the second session. Croatian media producer Dalia Alic conducted the third session about the challenges in production.
Director Rubaiyat Hossain shared the challenges she faced while making international co-productions. She emphasized the importance of “holding your ground” when the west perceives us through an exotic lens.
“We are the centre in our stories, not ‘the other,” she said.
American film consultant Sydney Levine, Bangladeshi film-maker Shameem Akhtar, and DIFF director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal concluded the conference summing up the many valuable experiences shared throughout the day.
West Meets East will be back next year for its third edition during the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival.