HAPPY RAIN, GOOD NEWS FROM BANGLADESH!
Take part in a documentary film project where rain brings wealth!
A 52-minute film
directed by Isabelle Antunès
produced by Les Poissons Volants – Sophie Goupil
Give thousands of Bangladeshi farmers a chance to show the world that it’s possible to overcome environmental problems by thinking up collective and sustainable solutions.
The movie takes place in Bangladesh, a small-waterlogged country encircled by India, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
Many films about Bangladesh merely illustrate the poverty and the natural and man-made disasters suffered by this country, and continue feeding the image of Bangladesh being a “lost cause”. This image was constructed in the beginning of the 1970s and has been instilled ever since, as if nothing has changed. Even though it is true that it has undergone devastating floods and that each year, almost three quarters of the country is underwater for 4 or 5 months, Bangladesh has since come a long way by ensuring its food security. This formidable turnaround has been possible due to the inventiveness and creativity of the population as well as succeeding governments considerably relying on local initiatives, awarding prizes each year to the most promising out of them, using their models and encouraging efforts through television exposure. This project will work on re-establishing this truth and showing a different image of this country.
The story we will tell is a striking example of the grassroots initiatives active in Bangladesh today.
IN DAUDKANDI IN THE COMILLA REGION, IN THE SOUTH EAST OF THE COUNTRY, LARGE FLOOD PLAINS
During the monsoon season, an immense flooded plain unveils scattered villages that are like islets in the middle of the sea. During 5 months of the year, from June to October, the farmers cannot cultivate their land. They wait, helpless, looking at the water hyacinths covering the horizon. In November, as soon as the water level descends, they gather by hand the heavy green and mauve-flecked vegetal cover in order to prepare the soil and plant paddy seedlings. A laborious task that takes time and costs money.
One day, the landowners of this region stopped watching the rain falling and decided to take action and surmount the obstacles, and it’s a success!
DISCOVERING A BLESSING IN DISGUISE: RAIN
This is the story of 5000 Muslim and Hindu farmers who, accompanied by Morshed, a persevering visionary-entrepreneur, decided to transform rain into a sacred resource. They set up a fish farm in the rice paddies by pooling their meagre savings and opening up their resources to families without land. They could hence set up infrastructures linking up their villages, enabling the capture and control of large stretches of water.
Over the span of 15 years, they have developed a true fishing business that is reputed and profitable, created jobs, reduced the harsh working conditions and the time involved in preparing the earth, increased the rice yield, set up several private schools for their children and developed a programme aiming to ensure the financial independence of the most vulnerable landless women.
Here they are farmers and pisciculturists. Over the course of the seasons, it is the discovery of a formerly hostile territory that is transformed into a great source of wealth.
Here, the environment is not portrayed as being independent of humans, a divine species to be venerated or left to destiny. The best way of appreciating the environment is to admit that we are part of it, that it makes up our life surroundings, to observe it in order to understand, reflect on and spot opportunities, then take the time to find respectful solutions that in the process continues to teach us about ourselves.
Far from a pessimistic and alarmist vision of the world, Happy Rain shows that it is possible to create the resources and riches from what one has and to do well on it, that development is not predetermined but constantly changing and evolving, forcing us to be constantly alert and that a bright future depends on human intelligence, on cooperation and on community motivation, with a little bit of wisdom thrown in.
THE MOVIE TODAY
The documentary film economy is such that, despite the implication of broadcasters and the assistance of public institutions that support audiovisual projects, the production company LES POISSONS VOLANTS is not in a position to finance the entirety of this project.
WHO ARE WE?
Producer Sophie Goupil founded LES POISSONS VOLANTS in 1989. The company prioritised development, production, publishing and distribution of creative documentaries, full-length feature films, short films and video artists in France and abroad. She is constantly looking to go beyond set genres, conventions and expectations by scouring the unconventional paths in search of unique and enthralling subjects. In tune with this constantly evolving world, the publishing mosaic that makes up Poissons Volants, evolves itself in the course of its films.
Discover all our films on our website: www.poissonsvolants.com
For this new project we are accompanying the director ISABELLE ANTUNES
Following a PhD thesis in cultural geography on the comparative study of two fishing communities located on the east and west of the Indonesian Archipelago, she worked for more than 15 years in the world of foreign aid and development in Asia-Pacific (Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and New Caledonia) and in Africa (Senegal, The Ivory Coast, Morocco and Botswana). Alongside her role in these positions, the filmed image has remained her preferred tool to communicate and to help advance development. After surpassing her thesis with a 52’ Mainstream film « Rêve de pêche en Indonésie » Dreams of fishing in Indonesia, broadcast on France 2, France 3, La Cinq, RFO and TV5 Monde, she signed “ La tomate au Sénégal, celle qu’on s’arrache » The Lady in red: tomatoes in Senegal, a success story, a 52’ formidable story of the tomato industry in Senegal, a successful partnership that brought on 14 000 producers and a French processing company, broadcast on French and Ouest-African TV and selected at the Vues d’Afrique festival in Montreal. The film has had the effect of giving a positive image of Africa and urging the youth to return to work on the lands, but also encouraging the government to protect the industry and the farmers against crushing importation businesses.
LONG MONTHS OF WORK DONE ALREADY
Happy Rain, de bonnes nouvelles du Bangladesh (Happy Rain, good news from Bangladesh) transports us through a country rarely shown on French screens and usually portrayed negatively across the world.
The whole team are bursting with motivation to ensure this stunning, energy-filled film exists.
Following the writing, its first location scouting/recce and the rewriting of the film, the director took her team for the first shooting in December 2014, as the harvesting and sales of fish are in full swing at this time of year, thus the farmers too are seething with excitement and activity. It is thanks to these steps already taken that we can offer you a generous overview with sublime images in the presentation teaser.
In order to capture the key aspects of our characters’ actions and seasonal changes, the colours and the atmospheres, the realisation of the film calls for several shoots at key moments of the year.
A new shoot is planned for the end of April, time is marching on! Plus a follow up in August.
In coproduction with France O, the film should be finished before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2015, held in Paris. This is a crucial event, the objective being to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement to maintain the global temperature under 2°C.
The film’s budget is very tight and it is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine finishing the film under the best conditions possible, as well as financing the film score.