The 20th Dhaka International Film Festival concluded on Sunday which awarded Tamil director PS Vinothraj's maiden directorial and India's official entry to Oscars 2022 'Koozhangal' (Pebbles) as the Best Film this year.
As for the Bangladeshi films, two periodic films jointly received the Audience Award: Nurul Alam Atique-directed 'Lal Moroger Jhuti' and N Rashed Chowdhury-directed 'Chandrabati Kotha,' while Shabnam Ferdousi-directed film 'Ajob Karkhana' got the Best Film Award by FIPRESCI Jury in the Bangladesh Panorama category.
A total of 17 awards were given in different categories at the closing ceremony of the 20th Dhaka International Film Festival, organised by the Rainbow Film Society at the Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum.
The closing ceremony was joined by Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud as the chief guest, while Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky and Dhaka Club Limited President Khandaker Mashiuzzaman Romel were present as special guests.
Presided over by festival executive committee member and Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Hoque, DIFF Director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal delivered the welcome speech at the closing and award-giving ceremony.
This year's festival was mostly dominated by the strong screening of Asian films. Stories namely from India, China, Nepal, Russia and Iran bagged several awards at the 20th edition of the global festival.
In the Asian Cinema Competition Section, the Best Director Award went to Sujit Bidari for the film 'Ainaa Jhyal Ko Putali' while the Best Actor Award went to Jayasurya for the film 'Sunny,' and the Best Actress Award went to Sussan Parva for 'Botox,' an Iranian-Canadian joint production.
The award for the Best Script Writer went to Indranil Roychowdhury and Sugata Sinha for Indranil Roychowdhury-directed film 'Mayar Jonjal' (Debris of Desire), a joint production of Bangladesh and India, which showcased stellar performances by seasoned actors Ritwick Chakraborty, Aupee Karim and more. The film is based on Manik Bandopadhyay's two short stories, titled 'Bishakto Prem' and 'Shubala'.
The other award for the Asian Film Competition Section, the Best Cinematography Award went to Zhou Wencao for 'Cafe by the Highway' (China), directed by Shi Xiaofan.
As for the Women Filmmakers Section, the Best Feature Film Award went to Maryam Bahrololumi-directed Iranian film 'Shahrbanoo,' while the Best Documentary Award went to Antonia Kilian-directed documentary 'Joen Toisella Puolen' (Germany-Finland) and the Best Short Film Award went to Alexandra Matheou-directed film 'A Summer Place' (Cyprus-France).
The Spiritual Films Section recognized this year's submission with three special awards: the Best Short Film Award went to Orhan Tekeoglu-directed Turkish film Fatma Kayaci'nin Bilinmeyen Hikayesn, the Best Documentary Award went to Rahim Zabihi-directed Iranian documentary 'Nane Moghadas' and the Best Feature Film Award went to Chengxu Lan-directed Chinese production 'Yangzhen's Journey'.
Besides, the Special Audience Award went to Aimee Baruah-directed Indian film 'Semkhor' and the Best Children Film Badal Rahman Award went to Daria Binevskaya-directed Russian film 'Africa'.
The 20th DIFF featured a total of 225 films from 70 countries, and the films were screened at multiple venues in Dhaka including Bangladesh National Museum's Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of Central Public Library, Alliance Française de Dhaka Auditorium, National Art Gallery Auditorium and National Music, Dance and Recitation Centre Auditorium of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Star Cineplex and for the first time in its two-decades-long tenure, the Foreign Service Academy Auditorium in Dhaka.
Besides the regular screenings, the festival also featured the 'Eighth Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema 2022' at the Samson Lounge, Dhaka Club from January 16 to January 17 and 'West Meets East: Screenplay Lab' from January 16 to 19 at the Alliance Francaise de Dhaka.
Rainbow Film Society has been organising Dhaka International Film Festival since 1992 with the theme "Better Film, Better Audience, Better Society". The next festival will take place between 14-23 January in 2023.