The 16th edition of Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) opens today, and will be held from January 12 to 20. Rainbow Film Society is organising the festival, with support from a long list of patrons and partners.
This year, the festival will have screening 216 films from 64 countries under several sections: Asian Competition, Retrospective, Bangladesh Panorama, Cinema of the World, Children's Films, Spiritual Films, Women Filmmakers, and Short and Independent Films.
The festival will be inaugurated today at the main auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum (BNM) by finance minister AMA Muhith. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Harsh Vardhan Shringla. Turkish director Kazim Öz's film “Zer” will open this year's festival.
A total of 15 films from different parts of Asia will be competing in the Asian Competition, where a five-member international jury will award prizes in six categories. The films will be screened at main auditorium of BNM and Public Library Auditorium.
The retrospective section this year will feature films by two French women directors – Julie Bertuccelli and Céline Sciamma. Some seven films by the filmmakers will be screened at the Alliance Francaise de Dhaka (AFD).
The Bangladesh Panorama section has been re-instated to this year's festival, as a representation of mainstream Bangladeshi cinema. A FIPRESCI jury will award the best film and best director in this category. The films will be screened at public library, and include titles such as “Swatta”, “Bhuban Majhi”, “Halda” and “Khacha”.
The Cinema of the World section will feature 41 contemporary films from across the world. The best film, adjudged by public vote, will receive certificate and crest. The films will be screened at Main Auditorium of BNM, Public Library, AFD and Star Cineplex.
The Children's Films section will feature 11 films, which will be screened at BNM Main Auditorium and Public Library Auditorium. Children with their parents can see the films for free, while there will be arrangements for underprivileged children to watch the films too. The best film in this section will receive the Best Juvenile Audience Badal Rahman Award.
The Spiritual Films section will showcase films about religion, tolerance and humane values. The venue for this section will be the Russian Cultural Section.
The Women Filmmakers' section will host more than 50 full and short-length films, at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium of BNM. Awards will be given to the best feature and best documentary films in the section.
The Short and Independent Films section will have about 52 short and indie features from Bangladesh and abroad. The films, which will be screened at the Sufia Kamal Auditorium (BNM), will be judged by a five-member jury.
A total of 95 foreign filmmakers are attending this year's festival. As part of the festival, Rainbow Film Society and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute are jointly holding the eighth Dhaka International Cine Workshop from January 5-20. The festival's other programmes include the fourth International Women Filmmakers' Conference at AFD from January 13-14, the first Asian Film Critics Assembly (organised by International Film Critics' Association of Bangladesh – IFCAB and supported by FIPRESCI) from January 15-16 at the La Vinci Hotel, and press meets from January 15-19 at the Public Library seminar room from 4pm every day. On the first day, noted Indian actress-filmmaker Aparna Sen and director Madhurima Sinha will attend the press meet.
The details were disclosed at a press conference at Dhaka Club yesterday. Festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal elaborated on various aspects of this year's diverse arrangements. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam was the chief guest at the press conference. Among others, M Hamid, president of IFCAB; Kishwar Kamal, festival committee chairman; Iranian filmmaker and the festival's head of programme Zohreh Zamani and architect Rabiul Hussain, advisory board member of the festival spoke on the occasion.
The 16th Dhaka International Film Festival has Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as patrons, as well as the Indian High Commission, Summit Bangladesh, Jaaz Multimedia. Partners include BNM, Dhaka University, Religion Today Film Festival, Realport, Star Cineplex, AFD, Norwegian Film Festival Haugesund, Watersprite Film Festival, DCL, Balik Arts, Aurora Vision, Channel i, Duronto TV, Ekattor TV and Senseforweb.