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Interview with Mahde Hasan

Mahde Hasan placed first in the section ‘movieofmylife’ at 70th Locarno Festival, 2017. He is a Dhaka based screenwriter, film director and cinematographer.  Time and memories are very fundamental elements in his life and work. His short film-“Photographs of a School Teacher”, was an official selection at “IndieCork Film Festival, Ireland, 2013”. Another short, “I Am Time”, was screened at 69th Festival del Film Locarno, 2016.

Here Mahmud Abu Naser spoke with Mahde Hasan about his film, philosophy and success.

To me, film is memory-oriented. The memories we want to remember, but we can’t. We forget, as the days go by, we are forced to forget. That’s why in films we try to reconstruct our memories.

How are you feeling about this award? How this award will affect your film career you think of?

Winning is fun. Everyone becomes happy when he/she wins something. It’s an opportunity to show it to a wide range of people and as it has won a prize more people will watch it. They will criticize it; look into it by their perspectives. I have made it from what I felt, but knowing about other perspectives is fun. It connects me more with the viewers and that’s the most important part to me I guess.
Besides, it encourages me of course. Last year I had another short film in Locarno, this year I had this. It of course encourages us, the short film makers that they are being recognized. If someone can explore the ideas that they have, they will eventually get a place to showcase their talent. This award will certainly encourage me to go forth making short films and feature films later.

How would you explain your film or Audio-Visual work? Is it a documentary or experimental one? You noted Abbas Kiarostami’s ‘Where is the friend’s home’ as inspiration of your thinking about films. How?

I won’t generalize it into those genres. To me, it’s like a Haiku film. Abbas Kiarostami used to write Haiku and I felt like if I could adapt a Haiku into film, that’s what sums up to me in my Audio-Visual Haiku.

And I have so many favorite films but this particular one, ‘Where is the friends home’ stayed at the back of my mind when I was shooting that film. I felt closer to Abbas Kiarostami and to his ‘Where is the friend’s home’ as I discovered the relation between his visual and mine. In his film he told a story of two friends, their lives, their relation and when I look into my film there’s also two friends who were helping each other to reach on the top of the house. Then again, someone else is watching them from a distance which gives us the impression of his expectation of going back to childhood. I thought often, how Abbas Kiarostami would make films had he lived in Dhaka. It’s like an exploration of what I have been in thinking of.

What’s your philosophy about making films?

Whatever we explore in our lives, we try to express it in our own ways- painting, writing etc. So for me, it seemed like, I can express my experiences more accurately through film. To me, film is memory-oriented. The memories we want to remember, but we can’t. We forget, as the days go by, we are forced to forget. That’s why in films we try to reconstruct our memories. That’s the amazing part I guess. Even the reality we see or experience, we can challenge it and can change it into our perspectives too. To me, film is more connected with time and memory.
For example- when those two boys were playing in my film, nobody knew about them. But when I took the images and made the film, the scenario is different now. Now it’s connecting with more people, they are alive in other people’s memory too. Even you have felt the connection to them, that’s why you are here.

Which are the obstacles our filmmakers are facing while making films, you think of? How can we overcome those?

First of all, we don’t have any film school with proper technical supports yet. Some of the universities have started offering ‘Film Studies’. We have a film and TV institute, several film appreciation course arranged by several film societies and that’s all. But we need a center; we need a place to discuss our thoughts about films, go through those scattered ideas and live with it; that’s why we need a Film School most. Our government should start thinking about the film industry; not only the FDC, but also about those people who are enthusiastic about films and struggling with their interests and thoughts. Our country’s male cricket team was so fragile but the government has nurtured them and now you can see their improvement. I’m not telling that they are not playing good. It’s reciprocal.  Like that, film makers too need the facilities. We need a proper film school with technical supports where people will do their honors course, on –screenwriting, directing, cinematography, sound recording and mixing, editing etc. But we don’t have the opportunity. Whoever has learned the crafts, have learned it abroad and they are just a few. We need more people involved locally to make good films.

Last question, what you think about our media on publishing this kind of prestigious award winning news of Bangladeshi filmmakers? Are they doing it alright or can they do it better?

I think they are doing the best they could.  Our present situation is not much enthusiastic about the film industry I think. So in compare to that, they are doing it alright. Though in a little form, they are publishing the news and more people have come to know about our works.

[ Edited by Noor E Alam Taimur]

Click to watch the movie: Where is the Friend’s Home

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