The Projectionist, filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz’s latest cinematic feat has been awarded the Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW, one of Germany’s most prized film awards.
Returning home to his Berlin apartment after two months of filming in his native country of Bangladesh, Shaheen Dill-Riaz was greeted with a huge pile of mail and the news that he could add another prize to his ever-growing list of film awards.
“It’s like, hey, I’m still here” he says with a humble and almost childlike smile.
He hasn’t even finished unpacking, and it seems his jet-lagged mind hasn’t made it home yet. It’s cold outside, especially for someone who has spent the last few weeks in a tropical climate zone. But there’s nothing like a film award to feel home again, even to Dill-Riaz, who doesn’t thrive on glitzy award shows.
The Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW is awarded as a special prize as part of Germany’s famed Grimme Awards. It is the second film prize Dill-Riaz is presented with for The Projectionist after winning the GROSSE KLAPPE film award in November 2012.
“A precious piece of television”
In The Projectionist Shaheen Dill-Riaz chronicles the live of Raqib, a boy of eleven years who works as a projectionist in a movie theater in a town somewhere in Bangladesh. It’s a film that has touched many hearts, including that of the Grimme jury:
“… The Projectionist is a documentary film – but it exceeds reality. The film montage skillfully links the boy’s precarious everyday life with the yearnings generated by the Cinema. Film clips aren’t used to illustrate, they tell of that imaginary part of reality which eludes any real depiction: hopes, dreams and wishes.
The act of balance, to generate empathy without descending into superficial compassion, works out marvelously. It makes this film a precious piece of television, for both adults, adolescents and children alike. Here the world isn’t explained, it is made tangible…” (from Jury’s laudation in German. read more. )
Dill-Riaz and other leading German filmmakers will be presented their awards on April 12 in the northern Ruhr city of Marl, where the 49th Grimme Award show is held. It is the second time Dill-Riaz will attend the ceremony after winning a Grimme Award in 2010 for his film Ironeaters.
“When I first came to Germany I wasn’t aware that the Grimme Awards were that prestigious” Dill-Riaz remarks soberly, a lone figure on the black-and-white checkered floor of his small kitchen.
“It’s a trophy alright , but I don’t keep it at home. I was on the road most of the time when I won them. Now they are nicely presented in the office of Lemme Film, who produced Ironeaters. In my apartment no body would notice them in the chaos.”