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The Projectionist

The Projectionist, Shaheen Dill-Riaz’ latest documentary film is set to become one of his most successful cineatic feats. It has won praise from both the press and viewers alike and was awarded two of Germany’s most prestigious film prizes, the “Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW” (2013) and the docx! film award GROSSE KLAPPE at the 36. Duisburger Filmwoche (2012).

The Projectionist celebrated its successful premier at the Hof International Film Festival on October 24, 2012.

A few years ago, in the backroom of a cinema in a small harbor town in Bangladesh, seven-year-old Rakib found a huge toy: an old 35mm film projector.

Step by step, Rakib learned how to operate the machine twice his size. Three years later, what had started out as a playful and exciting game had turned into a regular job. Now, at the age of ten, Rakib works as a projectionist providing much-needed support to his family.

In his documentary The Projectionist, filmmaker Shaheen Dill-Riaz follows Rakib as he spends his days between home, school and the cinema. What emerges is the intimate portrait of a young boy living a tough life as the family’s only breadwinner. Dill-Riaz poignantly captures the conflicts between Rakib, his parents and his siblings. However, the strongest scenes in The Projectionist are the moments which show that despite all hardship Rakib still manages to keep his childlike nature intact.

The Projectionist: A childhood spent at the cinema 

Over the course of this documentary, film director Shaheen Dill-Riaz also turns the lens on Rakib’s family. What he reveals is a touching intimacy between family members as they interact with each other. Filming those scenes is a core strength of Dill-Riaz, as he has eloquently shown in his other films, such as in Side by Side or The Networker.

Rakib’s single mother permits him to work at the cinema at night, but she wants his older brother to take over soon. Rakib’s daily wage is just enough to pay for the family’s breakfast. But it is not the money that matters to him. “My father told me that at work one learns for life.” Rakib’s father left his mother a long time ago but lives nearby.

Rakib loves the flutter of the cinema. But he knows that reality waits for him at home. As long as the projector works, everything is fine. However, all too often the reels of film get tangled or the projectors stop working due to power failures. Then the audience starts to shout at him. The film must go on, or else life will pass him by.

Film details

Title: The Projectionist / Der Vorführer
Release date: October 24, 2012
TV premiere November 5, 2012, 22:55
Length: 29 min
Format: HD
Production: Mayalok Filmproduktion

First Broadcast: in 3sat TV, 5. November 2012 at 22.55 Hours


1. Grosse Klappe 2012
2. Sonderpreis Kultur des Landes NRW 2013   /    Jury’s Laudation (in German)


Rakibs Alltag in Bangladesch, Anne Horstmeier in der WAZ (Deutsch)
The Projectionist at the 46. Hof International Film Festival
প্রামাণ্যচিত্র নির্মাতা শাহীন দিল-রিয়াজের সাক্ষাৎকারটি শুনতে এখানে ক্লিক করুন৷
The Projectionist at Deutsche Welle (Bengali)


Pressemappe Der Vorführer (Deutsch)
The Projectionist photos (Zip)


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