‘Antara’ awarded at UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival in Italy
“Antara” won the award for best film, Childhood in the pandemic at UIFF 2021 | Courtesy
Short documentary ‘Antara’ tells the story of containment through the eyes of a young girl living in a densely populated area of Bangladesh
Bangladeshi director Farid Ahmad’s “Antara” won the award for “Best Film, Childhood in the Pandemic” at the UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival 2021 (UIFF). The festival, which is organized by the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, celebrates films that have skillfully captured what it means to be a child today. Taking place on October 21-2 in Florence, Italy, the festival presented 38 films from 29 countries.
The short documentary ‘Antara’ tells the story of containment through the eyes of a young girl living in a densely populated area of Bangladesh. The jury selected this film because of its ability to convey the feeling of confinement of the young protagonist.
“The sudden reality of confinement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has psychologically affected the children. It led to feelings of isolation and affected their dreams. The film attempted to capture these experiences and tell their story, ”said director Farid Ahmad.
UIFF introduced the Iris Award to recognize excellence in filmmaking about children and to encourage the exploration of childhood around the world as a cinematic theme. In its second edition, the response was encouraging with a total of 1,700 films submitted for review from 114 countries.
“The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the mental and physical health of children in Bangladesh and around the world. “Antara” is a moving portrait of the loneliness and isolation children felt during lockdowns, ”said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh. “The direct – and indirect – impact of this pandemic will persist in children for years to come. “
The honor for Best Overall Film at UIFF is “UNICEF 75 Iris,” created to mark the 75th anniversary of UNICEF, now celebrated around the world. An international jury selected ‘A Scarecrow’ written and directed by self-taught Nepalese filmmaker Rajesh Prasad Khatri for the top prize. Rajesh Khatri, who is also a teacher, aptly portrays the cultural barriers that often prevent young girls from accessing education.