“Innovation is the name of any game”

| Update:
February 08, 2022 21:57:23

In our country, or in a broader sense, the Indian subcontinent, the role of a producer in a film project has been more or less limited to financing the project, and nothing else.

The films mainly revolve around the director, reducing the producer to a simple financier. However, in a film project, producers have bigger and more important roles to play, as seen in Hollywood where a producer is intimately tied to the film from pre-production to post-production.

However, the Indian subcontinent is slowly learning from the West, and a new group of enthusiastic and artistically skilled producers come to the helm.

In Bangladesh, one such producer is Bijon Imtiaz, a person who ran the Goopy Bagha Production Company with Arifur Rahman.

Among the films he has produced are ‘The Kingdom of Clay Subjects’, ‘Roqaia’ and Nuhash Humayun’s latest film ‘Moving Bangladesh’ which has already made big waves in the world of cinema, making its way into prestigious festivals such as Film Independent’s Producer Lab 2022, Cannes Marche du Film 2021, etc.

The film won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

The creative mind has agreed to speak to the writer in a conversation that can be described as a virtual conversation. add one, where he shared his story, his vision and his projects.

The virtual add one started with the movie “Moving Bangladesh”. With a sparkling smile on his face, Bijon Imtiaz shared the story of the day he met Nuhash Humayun at the 2019 Busan International Film Festival.

The festival presented the film “Roqaia” by Bijon Imtiaz and the two men had a lively conversation for a few hours. A few days later, Nuhash Humayun told her, “I have a story. Want to hear it?

This is how the project started in 2019, and Nuhash Humayun has been an amazing partner in this endeavor.

He was asked what drives him to produce films with unique stories and how the country’s independent filmmakers can also succeed.

“I believe in the growth mentality,” said Bijon Imtiaz, while relaxing in his workstation, the office that has been part of the journey to his amazing feats.

“In my philosophy, talent plays little role. One can only learn from his mistakes if he has a growth mindset.

“A brilliant plot is part of the job, but it’s never enough. Many young filmmakers fall into this talent trap; not realizing that a failure does not mean the director lacks talent or lacks ability. Tenacity, courage are the cornerstone of success, ”explained the young producer to how filmmakers must surpass themselves.

He compared film production to start-ups; saying that just like start-ups, profit and success take time here.

The first years can be difficult, success can seem distant; but as long as the filmmakers can improve by working hard, they will succeed.

Bijon Imtiaz has a unique view of filmmaking from a producer’s perspective: “People think art should be made for art’s sake; I strongly disagree with this holistic approach. Art itself has its value, and artists should be treated as such.

The journalist had a long conversation with him about the problems that persist in the Bangladeshi film industry.

Asked about the deplorable state of the industry, he replied, “In my eyes, the problem is mainly threefold: lack of accessibility to the market, lack of innovation and inability to cope with the taste of the new generation.

“The market is by no means small in our country, but the problem is its accessibility,” he said confidently, “unless the market becomes more accessible to viewers, the situation will not won’t change”.

A producer only receives 15-20% of a film’s profits, but those profits are also taken by distributors and theater owners, Bijon shared. At the same time, big names in the industry are still reluctant to experiment with different themes and try to change to the taste of new demographics.

“They’re still trying to make films in the 1980s-1990s formula, and fail spectacularly, painting a negative image for viewers. Consumers should be presented with fresh, innovative ideas, not worn-out musicals. Innovation is the name of any game and you can hardly find it in our film industry”, expresses his frustration the young producer.

Branding is a strong theme in an industry and the Bangladeshi film industry is lacking in the global market, thinks Bijon Imtiaz.

“Look at the South Korean film industry, just 20 years ago it was only regional. Now a South Korean film has ten times the brand value of a Bangladeshi film, and that affects the financiers.

In our country, the idea persists that films create less brand value for desi companies, he points out the problem.

“However, films export a brand image, just as Hollywood has created a market for American companies. Visionary businessmen must come forward to invest a lot of money in the industry, and in return we will create brand value for Bangladeshi products.

Terms like “artistic films”, “commercial films” are prevalent in the domestic industry, thus creating two distinct lines. For Bijon Imtiaz, the terms only serve to maintain the current hegemony.

More often than not, filmmakers forget the central theme of the business – there is always an audience that a film can speak to. Not all films can be made to entertain all types of audiences.

“So when I make a movie like Movers Bangladesh, I have a target audience. When movies like extreme mission are made, creators also have a target audience. Everyone wants to benefit from the movie, and that’s why this type of sharing restricts people’s choice.

“Not everyone likes biryani, some also like bhaat with bhorta. It’s the job of the producer, not the director, to find out who likes biryani and who likes bhaat.

Given the current state of the industry, the perpetual pessimism about the future is unsurprising. However, Bijon Imtiaz is confident as more and more talented Bangladeshi filmmakers are entering the market and creating splashes on the world stage.

“Right now, young blood is infused into the industry, blood mastering their craft and craft. Films like Rehana Mariam Noor or No Land’s Man broaden our horizons, and soon we will leave our mark on the world.

The day is not far away, believes Bijon, when entering Cannes will no longer be news, because it will be the norm for our films to shine at these festivals.

“Change will come, but it won’t come tomorrow. Every no is a future yes, and therefore, in the long term, our films will obtain international recognition.

It was hard not to feel a burst of optimism after hearing such promising words from a rising producer. Men like Bijon Imtiaz are pioneering a new era in the Bangladeshi film industry.

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