A year ago, a few random people were engaged in a mild debate. Some photo enthusiasts suggested starting a Photography Club while a few film buffs were much keener for a Film Club until a certain brilliant individual cleverly raised the obvious question. “Why not have both?” And that I guess was the spark that gave birth to the IUB Film & Photography Club.
The establishment of the club was no small task, but under the relentless patronage of Dr. G.M Shahidul Alam, leadership of Jessica Tartila (coordinator) and the diligence of the then few members the club was in stride before long.
The IUBFPC has been very active since, and that is simply due to the ardent efforts of the few but ever-enthusiastic members. As the members meet for our weekly meetings, the abundance of passion is conspicuous. In fact, meetings are more of a weekly get-together where the topic of discussion revolves from the latest photographs taken by the members, to friendly critical discussions on numerous films. Overall the club reflects an atmosphere of encouragement, where members are supported to speak out any notion.
One of the primary responsibilities of the club has always been creating exposure and interest towards the artistic aspects of films and photography. All of them recognize that these forms of expressions have a rising potential in our country. However they are also misunderstood (especially films) which restrains their full potential. The club strives to help people go beyond the generalized notion that photography is simply a tool for journalists and that films are more of a commercial project than an artistic expression.
In that respect, the club has initiated several events throughout the year where the motive was to help students urge interest in the subjects, while providing a stage for existing devotees. Often the club organizes photography workshops for the members and non-members. These workshops have always been well appreciated as many attend to receive professional insights from many prominent figures of photography, including Hasib Zakaria and Geoffrey Hiller.
To provide a platform for the members, the club had also organized a weeklong photography exhibition titled 'Urbanocular' on the subject of urban life. A total of 39 entries have been displayed on the art gallery of the School of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences that portrayed several distinctive personas of life in the urban jungle. The photos ranged from captures of the various people of Dhaka, its cultural heritage and the stunningly rendered images of the cityscape.
To counterpart the efforts, the club has also hosted two movie festivals. The first one called 'Oscar Classics' remained true to the title and it lasted a week enlightening mostly young viewers on some of the greatest works of cinema. Following the success of the former, the second festival was held this February with the title 'Red Stories of Love & War'. With posters in red liveries, the shows were based in tribute to the month of February & all its occasions.
When inquired, Tartila remains ever optimistic about the club. It is evident that her plans for the future are very elaborate as she proudly mentions the promising prospects for the future. She has plans for more events, and even talks about a short film that the club members are nearing completion.
As IUBFPC strives to spread its word, they are modest to acclaim that they still have a long journey ahead. However, through passion and confidence they remain optimistic to take films and photography of Bangladesh to the next level.
(Student of Media & Communication, IUB)