New York Film Center organized their 2nd International Film Festival in Jackson Heights from June 19 to 21, 2014. The event was held in the afternoons. Fourteen films – three feature-length and eleven shorts – were screened at the event. Out of them, eleven from Bangladesh, one from India, one from Sri Lanka, and one from USA. Nine non-fictions, five fictions. There was a panel discussion at the closing day. A small English souvenir was published with program details. The event was entirely free.
This festival is simply a great initiative as this may showcase Bangladeshi films as well as films from other countries, encourage independent filmmakers to make responsible films, build curious audiences, make a platform to compare and compete for other film festivals.
The festival seemed like a success! Plenty of audience showed up which was encouraging. The location – Jackson Height – was convenient for people to attend. The organizers advertised the festival in local Bangladeshi newspapers, distributed postcards, arranged press conference, donors, sponsors and advertisers provided financial contribution, local Bangladeshi media outlets reported the event. There was some collaboration from Bangladesh and Sri Lankan consulate too. Even with hectic efforts, the festival was a success.
There are three major observations about the festival:
- First day, the festival opened with ‘Not a Penny Not a Gun’ – a short doc by Makbul Chowdhury and ended with ‘The Drummer’ – a film by Tanvir Mokammel. The organizers asked some notable personalities to express their thoughts on the film – The Drummer – just after the screening. However, for one of them, it was too quick to say something, he needed more time to reflect. For another it was too emotional to say anything! However, they talked few words about the film at the end. If a discussion was necessary then it could have been better if general audiences were included. Most of the time these kinds of one-sided, staged, discussion are not so interesting. The experts unintentionally make the audience bored with their ‘expert’ opinion (which was visible from the panel discussion on 2nd day). Let’s keep ‘banjona’ ‘dotona’ ‘nondon thotho’ related issues for lecture room event. The festival can be light, entertaining, inclusive, intuitive and innovative without this lecture-style discussions.
- Next time the organizers can make sure that enough and up-to-date event information is available online. It was hard to find any information about this festival online. Even the festival’s Facebook event page did not give sufficient and timely information.
- Cell phone, cell phone, cell phone! It is extremely rude and mega-obnoxious to let your cell phone ring loudly in the middle of a film. This happened ever day. Please audience, put your ‘ego-ring’ into silence or keep vibrating in style!
Even hectic, restless and need some effective organization, the festival was a great start. It can only go better with better planning. Cheers to all who were part of this festival. A wholehearted big congratulation to the organizers.
Following films were shown at the 2nd International Film Festival:
June 19, 2014 Screening:
June 20, 2014 Screening:
June 21, 2014 Screening: