Future in Frame: International film carnival catches children’s imagination
By Arifa S. Sharmin
Dhaka, 26 January 2012: It’s the 21 January in Dhaka’s Central Public Library. The stage is set for the inauguration: some of the children are wearing colourful traditional dresses, waiting with their musical instruments; others hold pigeons in cages. Nine year old Hasan, along with the other volunteers, holds up balloons with the festival logo, whilst other young girls and boys are busy setting up the last minute details. Finally, the drum starts beating - its booming sound and the ‘world peace’ symbolism of released pigeons announces that the seven-day UNICEF-supported 5th International Children’s Film Festival ‘Future in Frame’ is underway.
“I am really looking forward to seeing the films,” said nine-year old Hasan who has come to the festival venue with her mother. Alif, a twelve –year old volunteer, along with his friends, are waiting at the auditorium gate, collecting tickets from the audience. “This festival is free for children who are under 18 with a parent, but not free for adults without children” he says.
The auditorium is packed full with a young audience and the volunteers are busy helping the guests to their seats. Children are running the film screenings, giving information to the public. The whole festival is being directed by the children under the guidance of some adults, such as the renowned film maker and Festival Director Morshedul Islam and Munira Morshed, General Secretary of the festival.
UNICEF Representative Pascal Villeneuve describes the festivalas a fantastic opportunity for children to watch world class movies. “Children – with their natural empathy and their heightened sense of imagination and play – have a special relationship with the creative arts” he says. “Their innate curiosity about the world and its people makes them an ideal audience for films, but – unfortunately – too few feature films are currently being produced with children in mind. This unique festival goes some way to addressing these problems” says Pascal at the inauguration of the festival.
Other attendees included A.K. Khandakar, Air Vice Marshal (retired), Honorable Minister of Planning and Deputy Chief of the Liberation Force during 1971 Liberation War; Mr. Mustafa Monwar, Chairman, Festival Advisory Committee; and Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, President of the Children’s Film Society.
The festival showcases films made by budding movie makers across countries as diverse as Brazil, China, Australia, Zambia, the UK, Uganda, the US, India, South Korea and, of course, Bangladesh. It is being held simultaneously in seven divisional cities of Bangladesh. A total of 20 venues, including Dhaka, have been showing more than 200 films, documentaries and cartoons made for children.
In addition, the festival provides a platform for the children to enhance their capacity in film making and personal development by organizing different workshops, meeting with film makers and cricket idols such as Saqib – Al – Hasan.
A total of 125 children - selected through an essay writing competition - came to Dhaka for the seven day event from different parts of the country. A total of 80 films were submitted for awards, with 32 qualifying for nominations. The best five film makers will be selected by a five-member Child Jury Board. The festival ends on 27 January 2012 with the announcement of this year’s winners.
According to 12- year old Anika, a passionate supporter of the film festival: “I came here every day to watch films. For the last three years I am a regular audience of the festival. I will come again next year and want to be a film director in future.”