For Bangla director Nuhash Humayun, shorts are a filmmaker’s calling card

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Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) Nuhash Humayun, the director of ‘Moshari’, the first film from Bangladesh to have been accepted for the Oscars, has said that short films are not only a good way to learn filmmaking, but they also become a filmmaker’s calling card.

The Bangladesh-based writer and director, Humayun, has an undying love for blending genres with a South Asian identity. He is the son of Humayun Ahmed, who was a Bangladeshi filmmaker, screenwriter, and songwriter.

In conversation with IANS, Humayun, who was present here for the Cinevesture International Film Festival 2024 (CIFF), talked about his filmmaking journey, short films, and the success of ‘Moshari’.

Humayun, whose debut film ‘Sincerely Yours, Dhaka’ had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival 2018, shared his views on how short films make an impact in the filmmaking journey.

He said: “People usually say they write a feature film script and that’s how they enter into filmmaking. But, I think there is another very helpful way to move forward which is if you have a short film it’s like your calling card.

“Like businessmen give their business cards, so as a filmmaker what is your business card? Nobody cares about your bio, what achievements you have, what awards you have won, they want to see your films.”

Humayun said: “So, if you have a good short film, people can watch it and if it is good, they will fund your feature film. I think it’s a good platform, not just for festivals, but putting it online. It’s a good way to learn filmmaking, and also show other people what you are capable of, and move up in life.”

The director is known in his country for his short films, notably ‘Paperfrogs’, ‘Pizza Bhai’, ‘700 Taka’ and ‘Lipstick’.

Speaking about his journey, Humayun said: “I have a very culturally inclined family. My father was a writer, my mother is a poet. I was watching films from a very early age, I used to watch sci-fi films, complex movies that my father introduced me to when I was a kid.”

Explaining why he dabbles in different genres, Humayun said: “I was 13 when I started making short films with my friends just using a very low-budget digital camera. So, yeah I always had a passion for it, but I think I wanted to tell stories — the short films I made when I was 13, which I made with my friends — some of them were in the horror genre, some were about superheroes, we just made silly random things. So I wanted to experiment in different genres and styles.”

Nuhash went on to note: “But when I was growing up there was not much of a fiction industry in Bangladesh. So what I did was I worked in advertising. There were good budgets for the commercials.

“For commercial films, you have to make pitches and then direct. So, directing commercial films gave me financial stability, and it made me learn how to deal with bigger budgets, and how to pitch to people. I think these were the skills that came in handy when I started making my own fiction projects and started funding my own short films.”

Humayun’s short film ‘Moshari’ is a 22-minute horror film, which revolves around two sisters Apu and Ayra spend their nights inside a mosquito net to protect themselves from monsters. The movie has won awards in many international festivals and is the first-ever Oscar-qualifying film from Bangladesh.

Elaborating on the film, Humayun said: “It was kind of an unexpected adventure for the film, we won 11 film awards and qualified for the Oscars. It helped me get an agent and a manager in Hollywood. It sort of created a new network that I never had as a filmmaker in Bangladesh. Like having a manager in Hollywood changes the fabric of your career.”

“So, I think you don’t think of all that when you are making a film, when you are on normal ground, sweating all day, you are just trying to do your job, you have no money, it’s an independent short film, so at the moment you just try to do the best job possible. You are not thinking about awards, or you are not thinking that you will get a manager, or all these things are going to happen. So it’s definitely not something I expected at all and I think it’s a beautiful once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

On how things have changed for him after the success of ‘Moshari’, Humayun said: “It has definitely made the path forward easier in a lot of ways. I can’t talk about the specific projects yet as they haven’t been announced, but I am working on multiple projects with Hollywood studios. Those are the projects that are being developed.”



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