"From the very beginning, we have been committed to providing film education of an international standard"
Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World
Bibesh Roy • Executive director, International Academy of Film and Media (IAFM)
The International Academy of Film and Media in Bangladesh aims to tap into the potential of a country with a large population that consumes a lot of content
Cineuropa talked to Bibesh Roy, executive director of the International Academy of Film and Media (IAFM) in Bangladesh, which aims to offer professional training of a high standard to Bangladeshi talent.
Cineuropa: What is your school’s main teaching mission?
Bibesh Roy: We started our journey in 2006 to support the Bangladeshi film and media industry by developing workforce skills. We are working on three principles: education, production and distribution. We have already trained more than 1500 students.
As part of our educational programme, from the very beginning we have been committed to providing film education of an international standard, with noted international film scholars and professionals from all over the world. In our education journey, we have invited many professionals from Europe and the US.
As part of our educational programme, we also arrange short training courses, for example the online scriptwriting lab with Giovanni Robbiano or the web series writing lab with Prof. Tac Romey.
And finally, we are trying to collaborate with CILECT to run a proper long certificate course with international accreditation. Our mission is to establish an international standard film institute to support the Bangladeshi cinema industry.
What is the biggest challenge for a school in a country where the audiovisual industry is poor but with a very large population like Bangladesh?
Yes, this is the biggest challenge for our film school to sustain, and on the other hand, this large population means consistent high demand. Our audiovisual industry is not small in size, but it is poor in quality. Our country is one of the biggest population countries in the world and most of our population is young. We have 40+ TV channels, 50+ radio channels, 100+ advertising agencies, 300+ TV production houses and two government film studios. Our country has plenty of content, we have beautiful locations, multicultural activities and lots of young talents who want to work in this sector. On the other hand, a big number of the population have access to purchase or consume entertainment services. We need to focus on production. I believe that only a properly educated person can create standard production. With the support of international collaborations, the Bangladeshi audiovisual industry can produce lots of global content through a proper education system.
In the audiovisual sector, would Bangladesh have a tendency to seek collaborations with Europe, Asia or the USA?
We need sustainable collaborative support from Europe, America and Asia to enrich our local media workforce as well as our production capabilities. We need proper investment, partnership and collaboration in education, production and distribution.
International co-production is a very effective initiative for young, independent filmmakers. We have content, talents, location and workforce to support co-productions.
We need proper support on distribution for our local content to thrive globally. In the same way, we want to screen international arthouse cinema for our people to enhance their knowledge of cinema.
What kind of collaborations are you looking for from schools or audiovisual institutions in Europe?
First of all, we need faculty support to run long professional certificate courses on film and media. We know that in Europe, many film schools provide international standard film education to students and have many highly professional teachers to teach students properly to make them reach a global standard.
Then, we need production support and modern technological intermigration from different European platforms to enhance our audiovisual industry.
A big number of international agencies like UN missions, EU, SIDA, DANIDA etc. are working in Bangladesh to support different sectors: health, education, sanitation, poverty, technology, infrastructure, irrigation, garment sector. These organisations could be involved in the development of the audiovisual industry in the country.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.