Monthly Archives: September 2008

Marembo Filmmakers receive invitation from the Minister

Members of the Young People’s Filmmaking Group at Centre Marembo in Rwanda are now really on their way. They have already undertaken their first official project – and for none other than the Minister of Youth.

Nicolette Nsabimana, Manager of Centre Marembo, writes –

“ Good news. On Monday 8th September and Tuesday 9th, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture invited two filmmakers to cover the Seminar of Culture. For Centre Marembo it is great, because is like an advertisement for our film group. It is a way to show our talent and knowledge in editing and filming. …..We hope to have, in future, a film group which is very strong and competitive in Kigali”

Click here for background information on the Young People’s Filmmaking Group

Radio Bhai gives rise to discussion programme on Bangla TV

PFP is delighted to hear that the film “Radio Bhai” is doing the work for which it was created – giving rise to discussion about disability issues in Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, 13 August, the Bangla TV programme “Bioscope” chose to focus on our film, and thus to raise some important points on behalf of disabled people.

The programme took the form of an interview with Ilias Mahmud who is now a lecturer and researcher in the School of Public Health at BRAC University, and who formerly worked at CRP and was a script advisor for Radiol Bhai. Clips from the film were also shown.

Ilias tells us – “I think this is a very important programme since disability issues are neglected in the media. This might encourage and give ideas to other film makers (short film/noncommercial). I also hope that this will have at least some impact on the audience to raise their awareness about disability issues.”

This translation kindly provided for us by – Dr Farjana Haque

Dr. Shahaduz Zaman: Today in ‘zoom in’ we will discuss about a film that was made on the life of a paralyzed person. The film was jointly produced by famous CRP and Purple Field Productions. It was directed by Shahidul Alam Sacchu and Rehana Samdani. Its name is “Radio Bhai”. We have invited Ilias Mahmud to discuss about this film. Ilias Mahmud is working as a researcher at BRAC University. His research interest is disability. He also worked at CRP for a long time.
Ilias, Thank you for coming to our studio. What is the background of making this film? We know that you were also involved in making of this film.

Ilias: CRP is a rehabilitation center and it rehabilitates disabled people. Especially it is a rehabilitation center for spinal cord injured people. It has a 100 bed hospital and rehabilitation centre. This is a rehabilitation center but where will it rehabilitate them (the disabled people)? In the society, in their own locality. We will not be able to rehabilitate them properly if the people of the society cannot be made aware. Considering this, CRP thought that it should do something to raise community awareness regarding disability.

Dr. Zaman: Generally it is found that there are many superstitions/prejudices in the society about disability which we have also seen in this film. Ilias, I know that you have done a research on this issue. Please tell us about that.
Ilias: From my research I have found that people consider disability as the result of sin, evil spirit, casting an evil eye or curse, etc. These were found as the causes. The society has sympathy for disabled people, but they do not think that disabled people are a part of this society. They can play an important role in the society; they have working skills that are same as, or even maybe more than, many non-disabled people.

Dr. Zaman: Usually we do not see disabled people in positive roles in our film or dramas. What do you think about that?

Ilias: I agree with you. If you look at our films or dramas, you may find disability, or disabled characters, but not as the main character – and those characters represent that they are persons with a lot of sufferings. They cannot do anything. They are dependent on others, and they have lot of sorrow. I have never seen (except in this) a successful disabled person in any film or drama.

Dr. Zaman: From this point of view, it can be said that there is an important point in “Radio Bhai” – that a disabled person is the main character of this film. To the best of my knowledge, the person who played the key role is also a disabled person in his real life, and these events also happened in his life.

Ilias: Yes, Sathi who played the role of Rafiq is a disabled person. He was a patient with spinal cord injury. He got admitted in CRP in 1998. Later he regained his working capability through the treatment and rehabilitation services of CRP.

Dr. Zaman: Many works have been done on this issue overseas – like the American film “My Left Foot”, which has even been nominated for an ‘Oscar’, where we have seen the same thing.

Ilias: “My Left Foot” is an extra ordinary film. In that film we have seen how a man wins over cerebral palsy, the most common cause of child disability.

Dr. Zaman: Another thing which we have also found in this film is that the infrastructure of our society is not suitable for disabled people. What do you think about that?

Ilias: One (concern) is physical inaccessibility, and at the same time there are also attitudinal (behavioral) barriers which we have also seen in this film. As for example, the OC (police officer) did not come down to help him (Rafiq) to overcome the physical inaccessibility. I think it may not be possible to make the existing infrastructure accessible for disabled people overnight. But if we try, we can easily eliminate our attitudinal (behavioral) inaccessibility, and whenever we will build any new infrastructure/public facilities we must consider disabled people’s accessibility needs.

Dr. Zaman: The rate of disability in Bangladesh is too high. What is the percentage of disabled people in Bangladesh?

Ilias: According to a WHO estimate, about 10% of our people have some sort of disability. So, I think this is a big issue for our society, but it has been overlooked; even in the media. This is an important topic and I think this film will lead to many more films, and disabled people will play the key role in those films and their sorrow as well as happiness and success will be portrayed in those films. We hope so.

Dr. Zaman: Ilias, you gave us time at this studio, thank you very much.

Ilias: Thank you and also thanks to the ‘Channel One’ for presenting such a film like “Radio Bhai” on this programme.