Filmmaking is witnessing a paradigm shift as passionate young hearts are portraying pictures with unique perspectives. The 19-year-old Sadia Aurna Akter is one such independent filmmaker from Bangladesh who enlightened the audience with her sublime ideas on “Do films influence society?” at the Lincoln room in American Center, Kolkata, recently. She studied creative education on scholarship and at the age of 16, joined an advertising agency Applebox Films, Dhaka, as a research intern and has been working there for three years now.

She has directed music videos for bands that cannot afford the necessary platforms to promote themselves and worked as assistant director, costume designer and casting director. In one of the advert videos where she was the casting director, it featured a foreigner lady whom she selected after a random but rigorous search in social media.

A one-minute video directed by her, titled Hands Matter, poignantly depicted the issue of child abuse. “It has been shown more abstractly rather than directly as a vivid portrayal of such a sensitive issue in public medium is not easy. The cast selected are indigenous actors to draw focus towards their community as they often get rejected as minority. Also the cast are men because they too fall victim of abuse and cannot talk about it, having tagged by the society as superiors who are devoid of weaknesses. It is shameful and hard for them to share,” said Akter.

For those who have the passion but not the means to flourish in this domain, she suggested, “Approach the people who can help you. Mentors are very important as they push you into the right environment for the field”. She stated the example of the renowned director Anurag Kashyap who started as nobody and shot films outdoors during Diwali to cut the expenses of lighting.

She gave a presentation on the steps involved in making a film. “It is all about good preparation. The more prepared you are the better you do,” she shared. A number of advert videos were shown pointing out how they use your emotions and selling stories that triggers your brain. On one such video, an audience reacted, “What I liked best about it is that there were no words yet I could connect so well”. Akter suggested that to make films more impactful, filmmakers must choose Internet as the medium to reach young people.