RESEARCH & ADVOCACY
After road crash in 2011 that killed my life partner and creative collaborator Tareque Masud, along with our long-time cameraman Mishuk Munier and 3 other members of our film unit, I have joined a growing movement for road safety in Bangladesh. One of our major achievements was the establishment of the national Road Safety Memorial on the campus of Dhaka University, commemorated to all victims of road crashes. I have also publicly commented and written extensively for the daily newspapers on this issue, including this piece about the 2018 Road Safety Movement, and this piece on the recently enacted Road Transport Act (2018). In terms of legal activism on this issue, I spearheaded a landmark civil case to sue the owners and insurers of the bus company involved in the 2011 crash. This case went to the Supreme Court, and a verdict in our favor was handed down by the High Court in December 2017. The case is now in the appeal process in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
For many years, one of our major concerns as filmmakers was the decline of the film industry in Bangladesh. Carrying on the work of Tareque's 'Save the Cinema Halls' movement, over a three-year period from 2012-2014, I led a major push for reforms in the film industry, a sector that was on the verge of collapse. As part of this work, I conducted extensive research on the issue, studying the industry from a comparative perspective by looking at the experience of neighboring countries in reviving their industries, as well as more global trends. I published this policy analysis in 2011 to launch this effort. Joining together with other film industry leaders in both the commercial and independent sectors, we successfully lobbied the government to initiate a number of crucial reforms, including the official declaration of film as an industry and the abolishment of the excessive entertainment tax.
FRIENDS OF BANGLADESH WEB ARCHIVE
Project Director of a major 5-year oral history archive project on ‘Friends of Bangladesh’ awardees recognized by the Bangladesh government in 2012-2014 for their support of the 1971 Independence War. In 2016 we launched the Friends of Bangladesh online web archive, based on the almost 200 interviews and related documentation collected during the course of this project. We also have a YouTube channel for the project. I also produced a documentary and a shorter promotional piece as part of this work. My work was supported by the Bangladesh Government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. We also worked in collaboration with the Liberation War Museum. Project period: 2012-2016.
In 2012 I became a founding member of the South Asian Children's Cinema Forum, a regional network of film professional sharing a common goal to develop stronger policies and content in support of children's cinema. In 2014-5, I served as Research Director for an SACCF field study & policy paper on South Asian Film Policy, with a focus on children’s cinema, supported by British media NGO I-Partner. To collect information and data for this project, I traveled throughout the region (visiting Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh), conducting interviews of film professionals and policy makers and collecting documents. This work was integrated into a 100-page policy paper with local and regional recommendations. Project period: 2014-2015.