Return from Cannes of Kamar Ahmad Simon and Sara Afreen
On 14 June 2014 at the Residence of France, writer-director Kamar Ahmad Simon and producer Sara Afreen shared with the press their experience at the just ended 67th Cannes Film Festival, and announced the co-production by Ddhoni-Chitra Ltd. of their first feature film "Shonkhodhoni" (Silence of the Seashell).
Below is the speech given by H.E. The Ambassador of France Michel Trinquier on that occasion.
I am very happy to welcome you here today to celebrate the return from the just ended 67th Cannes Film Festival of writer-director Kamar Ahmad Simon and producer Sara Afreen.
I have known Kamar and Sara for some time now, and it is a real pleasure seeing them grow and gain recognition for their important artistic work.
Last month, their award-winning film “Are you listening!”, which was projected in this very same place in December last year, was screened in the famous Parisian theater “Louxor” in front of a highly enthusiastic full-house audience. May is also the month of the Cannes Film Festival, and we will hear about their experience there in a moment.
As you may know, France actively supports the projects of filmmakers from all over the world, and particularly from emerging countries. This is one of the many ways France contributes to the promotion of cultural diversity and the expression of social considerations through the arts. It is also a means to foster cultural exchanges, and a better understanding between nations and peoples.
To that aim, the Institut Français, an operator of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, together with the French national film-making center, have created World Cinema Support, a scheme that helps foreign filmmakers develop projects that will be co-produced with France. In 2013, it had a budget of EUR 6 million, and it benefited 6 out of 37 films selected at the Cannes Film Festival.
But Cannes is not just about the competitions. Since its inauguration in 1946, the Festival de Cannes has always celebrated passion for film, gradually becoming the annual meeting place for film industry professionals. This is how the “Marché du Film” was created in 1959, and has flourished until today, with its goal being the successful production of all films.
This is also why the Institut Français has set up “La Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde” program, to help talented young directors from emerging countries increase their international exposure. Each year, only 10 directors and producers are selected for this program.
I would like to congratulate Kamar and Sara for making it out of the 125 submissions this year, with their script “Shonkhodhoni” (Silence of the Seashell). I was particularly proud to hear the news of their selection, and the French Embassy was happy to support Kamar and Sara’s travel to France on that occasion.
I look forward to hearing about their experience in Cannes, and wish the very best to these two young and promising filmmakers who walked down the most prestigious international film festival’s carpet, where their names were announced along with that of Bangladesh.
During the "Meet the Press: After Cannes", eminent cultural personality and Managing Director of Ddhoni-Chitra said: “A whole new generation of filmmakers are now coming up to take us to the world Cinema... from Ddhoni-Chitra we are proud to be part it.” Kamar said to the press: “Shonkhodhoni is a very personal film for me; it is based on my own childhood when I lost one of my best friends. I will only make it, if I think I can make it in my own way… otherwise I think, I should not”. Sharing about their participation in Cinémas du Monde, Sara Afreen said: “We had promising meetings with more than a dozen of co-producers who showed real interest in our script… if things go according to plans, we shall be working with some of them pretty soon.”
Earlier, "Shonkhodhoni" was awarded with a competitive script development grant from Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden; and was invited at European Producers Workshop 2012 as the only non-European selection out of 24 scripts. It was also invited to "European Post-Production Connection 2013", and "Produire au Sud 2013", a co-production platform of "Festival of 3 Continents" held in Nantes, France. Kamar Ahmad Simon’s last film "Shunte Ki Pao!" (Are you listening!) won "Grand Prize" in 35th Festival Cinéma du Réel, Paris in 2013 and "Golden Conch" in Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) 2014 as the best feature.