The festival was initiated in December 1988 as the first international festival of short films in this entire subcontinent. Both eminent and young filmmakers attended the previous thirteen editions from Europe, Asia, and America. Among them were eminent Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, Chinese director Xie Fie (Golden & Silver Bear winner), Indonesian director Garin Nugroho and Indian film directors Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Buddheadev Das Gupta, Kumar Sahani, Gautam Ghose and Aparna Sen. In the last festival, a total of 628 films from 78 countries participated. The festival is now an internationally recognized showcase for latest short and independent films made around the globe.

The festival has now become a major biennial cultural event of the country, and has been growing in size, stature, and media coverage. The upward trend is expected to continue during the forthcoming 16th festival in terms of audience turnout, coverage in both electronic and print media, and the number of entries and participating countries.

Festival programs

The festival is a eight days long event, and screenings are held simultaneously at three auditoriums in different parts of the city. The main venue is the Central Public Library Auditorium at Shahbagh. The other venues are the National Museum’s Main auditorium and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Auditorium.

At the main venue, each day there will be four screening sessions, which makes a total of 28 shows. Apart from the opening and closing ceremonies, the special sessions and retrospectives – of films by an eminent maker or films on special themes, focus on films from some particular country or period focuses – will be held in the other auditoriums. Each screening is about 110-120 minutes, which comprises with various genres – short fiction, short animation, short documentary, short experimental and feature length films.

Each show draws an audience of about 800 people at the main venue. Beside the main venue the other renowned and prestigious venues like the National Museum, Shilpakala Academy Auditoriums and Seminar rooms, a huge expected turnout of audience will take place and make the event an attracted Cultural audience.

Apart from short films, the festival also promotes the local Independent films which are internationally acclaimed and well received in global festival circuits.

An international standard Seminar titled “Alamgir Kabir Memorial Lecture” is organized during the festival. The earlier editions of the event were very successful with the participation of Filmmakers and critics from all around the globe.

Since the 10th edition of the Festival, to commemorate it, the event introduced it as an international competitive festival and two awards are being given to the Best Fiction and Best Documentary films amounting US Dollar 1000.00 each film. From 13th edition of the festival, another important addition is “NETPAC Jury Award” – which is only for participating Asian countries in the festival in both “Fiction” and “Documentary” category. And another award the festival announce is – “Tareq Shahriar Best Independent Short”, which given to the young and aspiring Bangladeshi filmmakers.

The 16th International Short & Independent Film Festival, Dhaka 2021

Festival Schedule
24 December to 31 December, 2021

Main Venue – Central Public Library
Other Venues – National Museum, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.

Chairman: Nasir Uddin Yousuff 

Festival Director: Syed Imran Hussain Kirmany

Deputy Festival Director: Rakibul Hasan

Official Email:
Official Website:

Main Sections

  • Competition Section
  • Tareq Shahriar Independent Shorts (for Bangladeshi filmmaker)
  • Alamgir Kabir Memorial Lecture
  • National Seminar 
  • Master Classes
  • Special Session

Awards & Mentions

  1. International Competition – Fiction [Award money US$ 1000, Crest & Certificate]
  2. International Competition – Documentary [Award money US$ 1000, Crest & Certificate]
  3. NETPAC Jury Award [Crest & Certificate]
  4. Lifetime Achievement Award – An Eminent film personality for his/her contribution to Bangladeshi Cinema 
  5. Tareq Shahriar Best Independent Shorts Award for Bangladeshi Young & Aspiring Filmmakers (Duration of the film: 15 minute) [Award money BDT 25000, Crest & Certificate]