Singapore-based film marketing and distribution firm Continental Entertainment Pte. Ltd. (CEPL), which holds global distribution rights for Bangladeshi auteur Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s “Saturday Afternoon,” will release the film in the U.S. and Canada through Reliance Entertainment.
The Bengali-and-English-language film takes its cue from the brutal terrorist attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka in 2016, which took place on a quiet Saturday afternoon and left more than 20 people dead. It had considerable festival play, winning awards at Fukuoka, Moscow and Vesoul.
The film was initially banned and had finally been cleared for release in January after a four year struggle with the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. However Bangladesh’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting appears to have taken a U turn and the situation remains fluid. Consequently, the film will open in the U.S. and Canada on March 10 before its Bangladesh release. It will also be released in other countries in subsequent months.
“I am glad the film is finally going to be seen by a wider audience. The movie is very important for people in my country to see and I wished it would be released in Bangladesh first, but nevertheless I’m glad that it will be seen by people all over the world, starting with North America. I invite North American audiences to come and experience the film in theaters,” Farooki told Variety.
Farooki is Bangladesh’s best-known filmmaker internationally. His films have represented Bangladesh at the Oscars three times.
Sreyashii Sengupta, CEO, Southeast Asia, of CEPL, said: “A thought provoking, intense film, which is a dramatic narrative evoking varied emotions and conversation, we are happy we can bring Bangladesh’s most modernist director Farooki’s acclaimed ‘Saturday Afternoon’ finally to global audiences after four years of breathless wait.”
The international ensemble cast of “Saturday Afternoon” comprises Bangladesh’s Nusrat Imrose Tisha (“Holud Bani”), Palestine’s Eyad Hourani (“Baghdad Central”) and India’s Parambrata Chatterjee (“Aranyak”).
Dhruv Sinha, head, overseas businesses, Reliance Entertainment, said: ” ‘Saturday Afternoon’ gives us an opportunity to work with a maverick filmmaker like Farooki and it also opens doors for films from Bangladesh to the world. We can assure you that the team at Reliance Entertainment will bring many such gems in future to the world audience.”
Sumit Chadha, associate VP, Reliance Entertainment Studios U.S. added: “I’m sure people here will like the movie as much as they have everywhere else.”
“Saturday Afternoon” is produced by Jaaz Multimedia, Chabial (Bangladesh) and Tandem Productions (Germany).