Echoing the slogan 'Better Film, Better Audience and Better Society,' The 19th edition of the Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) is going to begin from Saturday (January 16).

Featuring 227 films from 73 countries, this year's edition is scheduled to be arranged in a hybrid format due to the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.

A press conference was arranged at Dhaka Club in the capital on Thursday, where the festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, festival patron M Hamid, DIFF chairperson Kishwar Kamal, festival advisor Rafiquzzaman and Asian Films Competition jurors - renowned art critic Moinuddin Khaled, actor Ferdous Ahmed and Rokeya Prachy shared the details of the festival.

It was announced that the 19th Dhaka International Film Festival, dedicated to the Birth Centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is going to be inaugurated on Saturday at the main auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum at 4 pm.

Foreign Minister Dr A. K. Abdul Momen will inaugurate the festival as its chief guest, while the Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami will join the inauguration event as the special guest.

The films will be screened at venues namely the main auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of the Sufia Kamal National Public Library, the National Art Gallery Auditorium and Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nandan Mancha of the academy, and branches of Star Cineplex. Aside from these venues, the festival will screen films using the virtual platform for the first time.

The 19th DIFF will have a competition for its diversified segments including the Asian Cinema Competition Section, Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World, Tribute, Retrospective, Bangladesh Panorama Section, Cinema of the World Section, Children Films Section, Women Filmmakers Section, Short and Independent Films Section and Spiritual Films Section.

This year's festival will feature films on global leaders under a new segment titled 'Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World', for the first time in its history. This will honour the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Founding President of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as part of the Mujib Borsho celebration across the country.

A very special segment of 19th DIFF is called 'Tribute' which will honour the Oscar-winning cinema titan Satyajit Ray, on the occasion of his birth centenary. Some of his notable films including "Pather Panchali", "Aparajito", "Jalsaghar", "Apur Sansar", "Ashani Sanket", "Sonar Kella" and "Hirak Rajar Deshe" will be screened at the festival as part of this Section.

Besides, the festival will also arrange a special seminar session on January 20 at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy titled "Satyajit Ray: National as Global", which will observe a keynote paper presentation by cultural activist and Trustee, Bangladesh Liberation War Museum and will be joined by renowned actors and activists as the discussants from India and Bangladesh, including Padma Bhushan-winning actress Sharmila Tagore, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Supreme Court of Bangladesh justice and well-known painting, music and movie collector Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed, art critic and festival Asian section jury Moinuddin khaled and former Cultural Affairs Minister and legendary thespian Asaduzzaman Noor.

The 19th DIFF will also feature Seventh Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema 2021, which will be held from January 17 to January 18. Women filmmakers, actors and personalities from all over the world are scheduled to participate in the event.

Rainbow Film Society has been organising DIFF since 1992 with the theme Better Film, Better Audience and Better Society. It has been working to promote a healthy cine culture in Bangladesh since 1977.

The 19th edition of DIFF will conclude on January 21.

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