Art & Culture

Iran and Sweden win top prizes at DIMFF 2019

Iranian film-maker Saleh Kashfi wins the Cinemascope Best Film award for his 10-minute-long short film, titled ‘A Pair of Horns on a Female Homo Sapiens,’ and Swedish film ‘Handsfree,’ wins the ULAB Young Filmmaker Award.

Clockwise, Mohammad Shazzad Hossain, Rashed Zaman, Bidhan Rebeiro, Professor Milan Kumar Bhattacharjee, Matin Rahman, Proshoon Armaan, Dr Jude William R Genilo, Asif Uddin and Fabliha Nawar at the closing ceremony of DIMFF 2019 at ULAB’s permanent campus in Mohammadpur.

Faruque Ratul

Dhaka International Mobile Film Festival (DIMFF) 2019, an initiative by University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), ended on Saturday. Iranian film-maker Saleh Kashfi has won the Cinemascope Best Film award for his 10-minute-long short film, titled “A Pair of Horns on a Female Homo Sapiens,” and Swedish film “Handsfree,” has won the ULAB Young Filmmaker Award.
The fifth edition of DIMFF was held on February 15-16. The well organized closing ceremony was held at an auditorium of ULAB’s permanent campus, located in Ramchandrapur, Mohammadpur, in Dhaka.
The closing ceremony began at 3pm. DIMFF’s Festival Director, Asif Uddin, began the round of speeches. Asif also shared a very endearing video, about the organizing team of DIMFF 2019, in between his speech. The video showed light moments shared by the team working to organize the festival.
The welcome speech at the closing ceremony was given by the Treasurer of ULAB, Professor Milan Kumar Bhattacharjee. After the speech DIMFF 2019 film jury members, film critic Bidhan Rebeiro, professional cinematographer Rashed Zaman, and film-maker Proshoon Rahmaan, gave feedback on the selected films of this year’s festival. Some of the selected films were screened after the film jury feedback.
Film jury Rashed Zaman told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “A mobile camera is just as essential as any other tool of film-making. People make films to tell a story, or to share a message with the masses. One of the film-making tools is a camera. People used to say that they could not tell their story for the lack of a camera.
“Currently we see that phones come with very good cameras. These camera phones have reached the hands of the people, from every corner of society. I feel that this is a blessing. It gives a big opportunity.
“No film, shot on a mobile phone, should be underrated. Steven Soderbergh’s film on Netflix was shot on a mobile camera. If you search on the internet you will find many such films. National Geographic shoots on a mobile phone. At the end of the day, the mobile phone camera is just like any other camera, and it is easily accessible. Festivals like these are definitely a good initiative,” Rashed added.
Iranian film-maker Saleh Kashfi wins the Cinemascope Best Film award for his 10-minute-long short film, titled ‘A Pair of Horns on a Female Homo Sapiens,’ and Swedish film ‘Handsfree,’ wins the ULAB Young Filmmaker Award | CourtesyRegarding the films he saw at DIMFF 2019, Rashed said: “I have seen a lot of good films in this festival. Some of them are very impressive. At the end of the day, most important is the idea of the film. Irrespective of the camera with which it has been shot, if the idea is weak, then the final film will not be great. From the submissions I watched, I felt that the international films were comparatively better than the ones submitted from here. This could be attributed to the fact that local film-makers are not reading enough Literature. People are more focused on the technology they will use, for making a film, rather than developing the core idea of it, and making a script from there.”
Film-maker and academic Matin Rahman was the chief guest of the closing ceremony and gave a speech after the screenings. Following his speech the awards and certificates were presented. The winners of the festival were not present at the ceremony, so the awards were collected by some of the organizers on their behalf.
Advisor to DIMFF, Mohammad Shazzad Hossain, acknowledged everyone’s contribution to the festival, to wrap up the closing ceremony. He told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: “Something I consider to be a great success of this year’s festival is that some of the prominent film-makers of this country have changed their mindset, about films made on a smartphone camera. Local film-makers are embracing these kinds of films in a serious way.
“Some of them personally mentioned to me that, we should probably shoot our next film on mobile phones. Film-makers like Matin Rahman told me he will consider it for his next film. My colleagues, who are also film-makers, Wafi Aziz Sattar, and Bijoya Anam, told me they will submit films to next year’s DIMFF. If this increases day by day, then more mainstream film-makers will engage in mobile technology for their upcoming films,” Shazzad added.
95 films from 34 countries were submitted to this year’s DIMFF, and 38 films were selected for the festival. Out of the 34, 10 films were selected in the Competition category: “Sentinels,” “With love from God,” “Nature,” “Focus,” “Margherita,” “Missed Call,” “Salvation of Oxygen,” “The Thespian,” “The Story of a Motorbike,” and the Cinemascope Best Film award winning, “A Pair of Horns on a Female Homo Sapiens.”
The young director of the winning film, Saleh Kashfi, was born on August 1, 1999. His 10-minute-long short film was “A Pair of Horns on a Female Homo Sapiens.” The film is based on the social position of women in Iran, and the discrimination they face. Saleh has won many accolades for his films, from both national and international award givers.
The main highlight of this year’s DIMFF was the One Minute Film category where students from grade 1-12 participated as film-makers. There were a total of 26 films in the final category, called Screening, at DIMFF 2019.
ULAB Young Filmmaker award-winning film, “Handsfree,” was in the One Minute Film category. Another film from this category, titled “Story,” was directed by a Bangladeshi young film-maker, Muzahidul Islam Zahin.
DIMFF 2019 was organized by Cinemascope, a film apprenticeship program of ULAB. They started their journey in 2015, the inaugural year of this annual festival. The organizers of the festival have also mentioned that they will start the film submission process for next year, from April of this year.

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