Press Release:
The Cass, London Metropolitan University announced as educational partner of the inaugural London Bengali Film Festival

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Special Screening of DARA including Q&A, 14 April, 5:30pm

Seminars on 14 and 15 April

The Cass, London Metropolitan University, announces its partnership with London Bengali Film Festival (LBFF) for the first of an annual celebration of films from or about the Bengali diaspora.


Dara, Vincent Ebrhim Dara and Prasanna Puwanarajaab as Prosecutor Talib and the company of Dara, Photo Credit: Ellie Kurttz

Playing a key role as the educational partner of the inaugural festival, The Cass, London Metropolitan University will present a film screening of the acclaimed play Dara, following its successful run at the National Theatre in 2015.

Dara, Tanya Ronder’s adaptation of Shahid Nadeem’s intense domestic drama, set in the imperial court of Mughal India, charts the story of two brothers, both of whom are the heirs to the Muslim empire, as the fight ferociously for succession.

The screening of the full live performance of Dara (Thursday, 14th April, The Wash Houses) is presented in partnership with the National Theatre, Ajoka Theatre, The London Bengali Film Festival and The Samosa Media Project. To accompany the screening, The Cass Film has invited a panel of speakers including Anwar Akhtar (The Samosa Media Project and production consultant on Dara), Munsur Ali (Founder, The London Bengali Film Festival) and Charlotte Worthington (Head of Cass Film).

Charlotte Worthington, Head of Film at The Cass said: “Bengali films are wonderfully rich and diverse but are still largely unknown amongst international audiences. The Bengali film festival is a wonderful opportunity to share Bengali arts, culture and stories to a mainstream audience, bringing the rich artistic historical and modern culture of Bengal to the fore and helping the sustainability and development of Bengali cinema.”

As part of the educational strand created by The Cass Film for the Bengali Film Festival, two seminars are also on offer:

Culture on Film – 14th April 1pm

Chaired by Karen Smith- Deputy Head, Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, this seminar will open up debate and explore Culture on Film. It will be followed by a Q&A with the presenters Atul Malhotra and Hammad Khan.

Atul has produced and directed a wide range of documentaries, comedy and entertainment content for all the main TV channels in the UK including BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Discovery and Sky. His Directing credits include Ross Kemp on Guns, The Big Experiment, The People’s Book of Records and Solomon, The Escape Artist. His most recent film is Amar Akbar & Tony.

Hammad is a film-maker and examiner at the The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). His films include Slackistan and Anima State.

Lighting for Independent Film – 15th April 11am

Led by cinematographer Lorenzo Levrini, who has worked on a range of projects from independent films to music videos, this event addresses the use of simple and effective lighting techniques in independent films, exploring how to achieve positive results without a big budget or crew.

Dara Screening
Date: 14 April
Time: 5:30PM
Address: The Wash Houses, London Metropolitan University 25 Castle Street, Aldgate E1 7NT, UK
Book here.

Culture on Film Seminar
Date: Thursday 14th April, 1pm. Free
Book here.

Lighting for Independent Filmmakers
Date: Friday 15th April, 11am. Free.
Book here.
Address: The Cass, Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF

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Notes to editors

The Cass, London Metropolitan University
The Cass is the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University.  It is one of four faculties within the University. The Cass teaches about 2500 students at Foundation, Degree and Postgraduate level at two buildings in Aldgate. Subjects include Animation, Architecture, Film Production, Fine Art, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Illustration, Interior Design, Jewellery, Music Technology, Musical Instrument Making, Photography, Product Design and Textiles. The Faculty also offers 200 short and professional development courses. There is a strong emphasis across the studios on socially engaged Architecture, Art and Design applied to both local and global contexts, a Faculty-wide interest in making and many projects focus on aspects of London. Students at The Cass are encouraged to learn through practice, experiment with process and gain real-world experience in both individual and collaborative projects, engaging with professionals, communities and companies.

London Bengali Film Festival

Founded by award-winning screenwriter, producer and director, Munsur Ali – an alumnus of The Cass – the four-day festival will be held in London in April across venues including Rich Mix, Genesis Cinema and the BFI.

Of Bengali origin, Munsur created the Festival as a platform to celebrate the Bengali diaspora and to create a dialogue between London and the city’s Bengali community. The involvement of The Cass, as the festival’s educational partner, makes an important contribution to the institution’s overall aim of socially engaged art applied to both local and global contexts.

Set to be the largest Bengali film event in the world outside of Bengal, the festival will screen seven films each associated with Bengali culture, either because they have been created by, or star Bengali artists; they are based in Bengal or they explore themes that are connected to the region. Special guests will be present throughout the festival and a series of talks will take place to further shine the spotlight on the Bengali film industry.

The Bengali Film Festival will take place from April 13th – April 16th 2016. A red carpet award ceremony will take place on the final day celebrating Bengali filmmakers, actors and stories. Film Course Leader at The Cass, Peter Hewitt and Deputy Head of The Cass School of Art, Karen Smith, will be part of the judging panel alongside Martin Gooch, filmmaker; journalist and broadcaster Nadia Ali and film journalist Alex Zane.