‘Women filmmakers still face disadvantages’

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Desk Report:

‘Through Her Eyes’ is an initiative which showcases works of Bangladeshi women filmmakers. Goethe-Institut, Bangladesh is co-hosting the event. Its Director Kirsten Hackenbroch spoke to UNB about various aspects of the event and how it can benefit Bangladeshi women filmmakers.

What are the objectives of ‘Through Her Eyes’ initiative?

The Goethe-Institut and the International Film Initiative of Bangladesh want to promote Bangladeshi women filmmakers with ‘Through Her Eyes’.

There are a few female filmmakers who have become internationally successful. However, looking at both Bangladesh and the global perspectives, we see that women filmmakers still face disadvantages and find it more difficult to join the international independent film community [but they] continue to produce films.

So, we really want to create a platform where young, aspiring and talented filmmakers from Bangladesh can ask questions to those who have already gone through the international stage, can reflect on their possession, on their career perspectives and enter into discourse with the larger group of society.

You are helping through the process but do they get any financial help from this?

The programme that we are setting up now is not a programme for financial assistance. It’s where young filmmakers have a chance to find a forum or space to discuss, to share their sorrows, and get guidance.

What can evolve from this is that we will understand the needs of the young filmmakers in general and young female filmmakers in particular. [We hope to understand] what kind of support will they need, what sort of seminar, workshop sessions would be helpful, what kind of information is not readily available in Bangladesh. With this series, we hope to understand, and then [we] should be able to react and design the programmes.

Is there any mission statement for Goethe-Institut? Why Goethe-Institut is doing that? Is there any story behind that?

Yes, certainly. First of all, the Goethe-Institut is a cultural and language institute. We are supporting cultural activists’ ideas, especially from the independent artists, around the world to pursue entering into global dialogues and to pursue the work that they can [produce] and support them as much as we can.

We organised a Berlinale spotlight in September 2018, particularly for films. The Berlinale International Film Festival came to Bangladesh with two delegates. We organised the Berlinate spotlight together with DocLab and the IFIB (International Film Initiative of Bangladesh).

Three Bangladeshi films are going to Berlinale. How is their prospective?

It’s a huge success. There have been films from Bangladesh and filmmakers going to Berlinale but not in big numbers. So, I see it as somewhat connected also to the Berlinale spotlight. [It’s a] chance for Bangladeshi filmmakers to engage with people from Berlinale to understand what kind of programme they offer and now it’s a huge success to see that three filmmakers in one year are going to Berlinale.

I am very happy to see that. And I hope that through the work that we are doing, through the programme ‘Through Her Eyes’, [we’ll] have a stable flow of Bangladeshi independent filmmakers going to represent their projects at film festivals such as the Berlinale also the Doc Club, the doc light click Documentary Film Festival in July.

Is there any long-term plan or future plan with the current initiative?

The future plan is to really see from the discussions that we will have at Goethe-Institut what the young filmmakers need in order to continue or for more sustained engagement in the independent film industry. [We’ll come up with] workshops or seminars or we could bring experts from Germany to work with the young filmmakers here in Bangladesh.

What do you expect from this event?

What I expect is that the forum we offer will lead to a greater network among young filmmakers, so that especially those who are new in the profession don’t feel intimidated by, for example, the dealings with international festivals which can be quite a headache.

So, we really hope that this sharing between seniors and juniors, between more experienced and less experienced filmmakers will create an atmosphere of helping each other, of being available for each other, of being mentors to the younger generation.

Obviously, the programme is very much an offer to the film community and I would be very glad if the film community itself takes charge of the programme and really explains or expresses their wishes on how the programme should continue in future, what particular discussion they would need in order to be able to improve or make the work they are doing more sustainable. So, [the expectation is] to understand the talented filmmakers’ perspective.

I think there are brilliant Bangladeshi independent films. It’s more about a chance to have more people to tell their stories and to have more people who are really talented to get the support they need to tell the stories.

I invite everyone to join us on Sunday to the discussion space that we offer and to really make this their own space.unb

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