বুধবার, ৩০ সেপ্টেম্বর, ২০০৯

Yasmine Kabir wins top award at Film South Asia Festival ‘09


Two documentaries by Bangladeshi filmmakers Yasmine Kabir and Tanvir Mokammel have won top awards at the Film South Asia Festival 2009 held in Kathmandu, Nepal. The festival concluded on September 21.
While Kabir's documentary "The Last Rites," a moving story about ship-breaking yards in Chittagong and the lives of people associated with the trade, was adjudged the best film and won the prestigious Ram Bahadur Trophy, Mokammel's "Swapnabhumi" (The Promised Land), a film about Urdu-speaking 'Biharis' in Bangladesh, was one of the two films which bagged the second-best awards.
The best debut film award went to India's Faiza Ahmad Khan's "The Supermen of Malegaon" which is the story of people of a small power-loom town in the western Indian town.
The three-member festival jury headed by Sadanand Menon and comprising Lalsawmliani Tochhawng and Isa Daudpota heaped praise on Yasmine Kabir's documentary that beat off competition from a package of 35 films.
The jury in a statement said that "at the end of viewing the package of 35 films it was unanimous in its assessment that one of the shortest films eminently qualifies for the biggest award. We name Yasmine Kabir's 'The Last Rites' for the prestigious Ram Bahadur Trophy."
"This gem of a film," said the jury, "fully satisfies the demands of what could be described as a 'complete' film. There is the superb tandem of camera and sound. It is sharply etched and tightly edited. It connects the 'death rituals' of ship-breaking with the struggles for life of a community of people. It treats its extended silence as its strength."
The film reminded the jury of legendary American filmmaker Robert Flaherty's memorable documentary "The Man of Aran" (1934) and, in that sense, connects the origins of the documentary genre with its contemporary practice. The film made us feel proud to be part of Film South Asia 2009."
In selecting Mokammel's "Swapnabhumi" for the second-best film award, the jury was equally effusive describing it as "a very well crafted" film that "deftly captures the festering sore of 'stateless citizens' or 'stranded citizens' in so many regions of our extended sub-continent."
"It powerfully draws our attention to the issue of identities that have become a bane of post-colonial South Asia -- the question 'Who Am I' becomes one of the trickiest questions of our times, as many segments of our population become playthings of current history. The film tells this story with grace," said the jury.
Mokammel, the film's director who is now on a four-week tour of Japan, was understandably happy at his documentary being chosen for the award. In an e-mail response from Japan to The Daily Star, he expressed his happiness

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