MFF Praha - Febiofest
THE DIRECTOR, HEATHER KESSINGER, AND PRODUCERS CHEVY CHEN AND JIM HICKOX INTRODUCED “NASIMA – THE MOST FEARLESS” – A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE FIRST FEMALE SURFER IN BANGLADESH – AT ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT PRAGUE IFF – FEBIOFEST
“The story found me. I had just finished a movie in India, when a friend sent me an article about surfing in Bangladesh. I wasn’t looking for a new project at the time, but there were some really interesting points in the article – it mentioned that kids from all different social groups were surfing together there, and also that girl surfers were facing verbal abuse and even had rocks thrown at them at the beach. Two years later, Nasima was the only girl left in the club. I looked up the author of the article, we found out we lived 5 miles from each other, so we met up and he introduced me to the community. He was glad someone was going to follow their story further,” the director said about how she got to meet her protagonist.
Although surfing is still off limits for Bangladeshi women, Nasima’s perseverance had made her a state-wide celebrity. “She had already played in several ads, so appearing in a movie shouldn’t create too many problems for her at home,” Kessinger said, adding that she wants to show her film to her protagonists at a beach screening. She herself as a female filmmaker did not have an easy time in Bangladesh. “There were some scenes I was unable to shoot just because I wasn’t allowed to be in the room with only men. And I had to be covered at all times. But I felt that Nasima and Amina wouldn’t have shared their story with a man. As a woman, I wasn’t a threat to them,” the director explained.
Nasima – The Most Fearless is also about women’s rights and emancipation in the Asian country. “I believe there’s a way to change the status of women in that area, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the movie. But the change will be very slow, it might take several generations. The film ends on a hopeful note, though – other girls end up going in Nasima’s footsteps, and they all stick together,” Heather Kessinger says.