12:00 AM, March 11, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:44 AM, March 11, 2017


Amir Muhammad is an established filmmaker and writer who has released a number of critically acclaimed over the years. His documentaries such as “The Big Durian (2003)” and “Malaysian Gods (2009)” were featured in several international films such as IFFR and Vancouver International Film Festival. This Malaysian talent was chosen as a member of the Jury for the ‘Hivos Tiger Competition’ award at this year’s IFFR’s main segment.

Rafi : Thank you for giving me the time. So tell me about your experience at IFFR. You have been a part of IFFR so many times.

Amir Muhammad: Yes, this was my third time.

Rafi: As a Jury?

Amir Muhammad: No, the first two times were as a filmmaker with films in the program. And one was as doing a kind of installation.

Rafi: How many films have you made?

Amir Mohammad: I have lost count of the movies I have made of my own. Maybe, seven or eight. And they were mainly documentaries.

Rafi: Do you have any specialization or any kind of focus 

when it comes to film making?

Amir Muhammad: I tend to pick local topics and local areas. The kind areas that are not normally shown in mainstream representation.

Rafi: So are they all political?

Amir Muhammad: Yeah, they are all political to a certain extent. It depends on how you want to define politics, basically.

Rafi: You know I have met one of the Indonesian short film directors. He called you the best film maker. Do you agree with him?

Amir Muhammad: Indonesians like to flatter people. Because they are very friendly. So they like to make other people comfortable by saying nice things. That is an Indonesian trait.

Rafi: You are in the jury for the main program this year. So can you tell me how were the movies that came this year, or how they were selected?

Amir Muhammad: We had to watch a total of 8 films and had to select one winner and one jury prize. We have seen 7 out of 8 so far.

Rafi: How many panels of juries are there?

Amir Muhammad: There are five. There is no head and we decide through discussion and select based on majority's choice.

Rafi: Do they select the jury from different countries?

Amir Muhammad: Yes.

Rafi: Can you give us any tips for upcoming and budding film makers of Bangladesh? For those who want submit their films?

Amir Muhammad: I don't know what the criteria are to be selected for the festival. But I think people shouldn't make films for competition. One of the most impressive films I saw last year was “Live from Dhaka”. It was from Bangladesh, of course. I am really happy it is here this year. Filmmakers should make the kind of films people want to see and those that make you think should be there and no one else is making. 

Rafi: Would like to share with us about your next project?

Amir Muhammad: The project has a connection with Bangladesh (laughs). I am working with Saad. Even though haven't discussed this yet in person and only through email. I have to keep it a surprise. Hopefully we will start showing it by the end of this year at a few places.

Interviewed by Rafi Hossain

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