DIFF: 7th Dhaka International Confce on Women in Cinema held

Dhaka, Jan 18 – The 7th edition of Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema of the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) concluded on Monday at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA). The two-day conference began Sunday with its special focus on improving the standard and content of women-based cinema and creating an interaction among women involved in the medium of cinema through exchanging ideas and sharing diverse experiences.
Six keynote papers were presented and discussed at the conference by renowned women filmmakers, critics, and panel members from home and abroad.
The conference featured the presentation of three keynote papers on Monday including “Women in VR: Is Another Train Leaving Without Us” by film critic and Show Time editor of Dhaka Tribune Sadia Khalid, “Role of Film Festivals and Social Media to Empower and Encourage Women in Cinema And Nepalese Women Film Maker’s Stand in the Present Scenario in seven decades History” by Nepalese filmmaker, actor and festival director of Yala International Independent Film Festival (YIIFF) in Nepal Nisha Shrestha and “Beyond Bangla Borders: Made in Bangladesh: A Case Study” by Sydney Levine, conference director and trainer, educator, writer and consultant for festival, international sales and financing strategies from LA, USA.
The sessions were respectively presided over by Associate Professor at Dhaka University’s Department of Mass Communication and Journalism Sabrina Sultana Chowdhury, film critic Sadia Khalid and Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Haque.
Noted discussants included Canadian film consultant-programmer Hannah Fisher, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker N Rashed Chowdhury, Indian actress and filmmaker Bijaya Jena, the connoisseur of ‘fan of all things’ creative, cultural and innovative from Bangladesh Naeema Chaudhury, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker Shamim Akhter, Norwegian producer and head of the New Nordic Films of the Norwegian International Film Festival Gyda Velvin Myklebust, Bangladeshi filmmaker and film society activist Aka Reza Ghalib and French filmmaker-producer Meral Melika Duran.
On Sunday, the other three papers including “A Few Good Films: Alternative Representation of Women in Films in the 70s in Bangladesh” was presented by Bangladeshi filmmaker and independent film activist Mehzad Ghalib; “We will Tell the Truth through Cinema – Women of the Iranian Cinema” was presented by Iranian film festival programmer, distributor and film producer Elaheh Nobakht and “Depicting Son Preference in Indian Cinema: A Feminist Contemplation” was presented by Debjani Halder, film research officer of the Film and Television Institute of India (Pune).
The sessions on Sunday were respectively presided over by DIFF chairperson Professor Kishwar Kamal, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker Shamim Akhter and Dr Kaberi Gayen, Professor at Dhaka University’s Mass Communication and Journalism department.
Noted discussants included South Korean film festival programmer, playwright, journalist, producer, and human rights activist Su Lee, noted Bangladeshi filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Nargis Akhter, media personality and Jagannath University’s Film and Television department faculty Fatima Amin, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh Farah Kabir, Bangladeshi independent filmmaker, editor, and instructor Chaitali Somadder, Bangladeshi actress Bonna Mirza, Indian film society activist, film programmer and journalist Uma da Cunha, manager of Tehran’s Hilaj Film and Acting School in Iran Shadi Javadi and Bangladeshi filmmaker and film society activist Aka Reza Ghalib.
The declaration of the conference will be continued and read out at the closing ceremony of the 19th DIFF on January 24, Liberation War Museum trustee Hoque told UNB.
Earlier, the conference was officially inaugurated by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid on Sunday as the chief guest while BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky joined as the special guest at the inaugural ceremony, presided over by DIFF chairperson Kishwar.
French filmmaker-producer Meral Melika Duran and Canadian film consultant-programmer Hannah Fisher joined the inaugural ceremony virtually, which was anchored by festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal.
Following the inaugural ceremony, which showcased an enthralling dance-drama performance by BSA artists titled Banglar Nari, portraying noted women personalities who broke the shackles of the society and accelerated women empowerment including Pritilata Waddedar, Nawab Faizunnesa, Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, Jahanara Imam, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – the conference officially began featuring discussions on the topics. – UNB