Congratulations on winning the first place prize in Locarno Festival 2017's “Movie of My Life” segment. What do you think of your success?
I see my win as something undoubtedly positive. I think this act as a good feedback to the work I have putting in short films. People can now hopefully see that making short films is a viable option for budding filmmakers.
Are you working on any new project? Could you tell us about it?
The theme of the movie I am currently working on features this city; the nature of this city and the harshness of living inside this urban sphere. The story revolves around three characters who are trying to adapt to the harshness of urban life in Dhaka.
Open Doors is considered a very unique aspect of Locarno Festival. Could you tell us about it in details?
For 3 years, of which 2 years has already passed, Locarno Festival has been screening as well as funding films from eight South Asian countries through Open Doors Screenings. I had a work of mine shown in Open Doors Screening last year, a short film named I am Time. Aside from Bangladesh, Open Doors Screenings has also featured new films from Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal last year.
Open Doors Lab is for producers and Open Doors Hub is where filmmakers submit their scripts and receive nursing and funds from the authorities. Hub also allows co-producers to get to know young filmmakers. Open Doors is a great place to learn and explore, where renowned film labs like Torino Film Lab and others come to meet budding filmmakers. You can pitch your ideas and even set up a system for funding there.
Can you tell us how one can apply for the Locarno Festival?
At the end of the year they will send invitations to submit scripts. The minimum they ask is for is a “treatment”, which is the script for the feature-length film you are working on. It is also recommended to submit the screenplay and the mood-board, which will contain photos, sketches and trailers of your project. As a director you must also provide a statement, which will state your objectives for the film. It is also mandatory to have a short film of yours that has been shown in film festivals before.
What advice can you give to budding filmmakers who are looking forward to submit their films in international film festivals like Locarno?
Don't think of short films as a waste of time. Do not get tired of filmmaking; it's not the kind of career that will grant you instant success. Even if your films aren't exhibited this year, it will definitely give you some positive feedback in the future. Even though we don't have actual schools where we can learn filmmaking, I think of short films as a form of schooling for filmmakers. This is why I admired Celebrating Life, which was the closest form of filmmaking school we were exposed to. The new filmmakers I know of have been inspired by what we have done so far, which definitely bodes well for the future of Bangladeshi filmmakers in international film festivals.