There are several events and competitions regarding films globally, and one of the best and most prestigious is the Cannes Film Festival. It is also the largest film festival in the world. Film fraternities from all over the world gather here to discuss and plan films; they include everyone from actors that star in them, to the publicists that make them heard. This year, journalists alone, made up more than 4,500 of the attendees, a number that seem to increase with each passing year.
For people involved in films, Cannes is an annual pilgrimage. The filmmakers sending in their films for the Cannes competition, are somewhat satisfied if their films are picked, but reach a state of nirvana when and if they win, it is at that moment they know they will survive in the ever changing world of filmmaking. In a country so rich in filmmakers, critics and film buffs, only Tareque Masud's Matir Moyna was awarded The Directors Fortnight award, back in 2002. However, Bangladesh renewed its foothold in Europe's film circuit with Kamar Ahmed Simon and Sara Hossain's film “Shunte Ki Pao?” a film which was given several prestigious European awards. This time Kamar Ahmed Simon and Sara Hossain's project was one of ten, picked by Brazilian director Walter Salles, head of this year's Cinemas du Monde, to be introduced to producers for funds. Salles led the Bangladeshi duo along with the other recipients of this honor down the red carpet at Cannes, an honor sought after by each and every one in the world of films.
This year, apart from Simon and Sara, me and Zia Nazmul Islam from The Daily Star along with Iqbal from the Prothom Alo were officially invited to attend Cannes. The thing with Cannes is, not everyone is invited. People are allowed to visit the city, but are not allowed to attend the festival itself without an invitation. However, filmmakers, producers, publicists, actors, directors, critics, journalists and film aficionados who were not invited officially but wish to attend the festival can visit the festival's website early on in the year and request to attend, and apply for accreditation.
However, in my opinion I believe that anyone in our country with the passion and skill to get a message across the silver screen can attend, participate and win at festivals and competitions like Cannes. Most filmmakers in Bangladesh have financial constraints and it is because of these constraints, they fail to realize that filmmaking is a process much like being a doctor or an engineer; it requires patient learning, time, dedication and investment. Once these things come together, language and method become irrelevant, the idea that exists in their heads comes to life on the screen and will most definitely be recognized for the work of art that it is.
Although a major constraint, a filmmaker should not be under the impression that all one needs to make a good film is money, they need to realize that it is a highly complex art form, and just like art, it needs a great idea, portrayed even greatly for it to be noticed by people. If you are lucky enough to get finance in the preliminary stages of pitching your project, that's great, but if not, you could probably get there step by step. None of this will be possible without the personal drive to do so. Filmmakers need to be up to date with the world. They need to be smart, proactive, and enthusiastic and they must create and leverage connections for things to happen. Sitting idle and romanticizing about being a filmmaker never got anyone anywhere.
I urge everyone involved in films, from the script writers to financers, directors, producers and distributors to visit festivals such as this, as they tackle the 360 degree angle of films, which involves marketing, sales, distribution, audience catering and so on and so forth. This not only allows people to explore but also to experience each and every aspect of the film market. This is my experience and was a wonderful one at that; however, this trip has opened my eyes to things about films than I didn't know to exist. Cannes itself is a city so beautiful that I will not attempt to describe it in words. I hope that the Star Showbiz team returns to the Cannes Festival next year too, because events such as these always leave you wanting more.