Bangla Surf Girls
Elizabeth D Costa
Canada, Bangladesh. 2021. 86 min
Shobe, Aisha and Suma break away from the drudgery of their lives by joining a surf club in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The girls fight family pressure and social judgement, for a few hours on the waves each day and gain confidence as their natural skill and prowess gains attention and praise. The joy and freedom of the waves are a stark change from the abuse and hardship they face at home. Soon they are poised to make history as Bangladesh’s first women surfers. However the fate of the club itself hangs on the leadership of the coach who has his own challenges. The odds stack up but the girls refuse to give up. .Balancing the freedom of the waves with the restrictive realities of their circumstances, we experience the thrill and struggle of coming-of-age in a developing country.
Bangla Surf Girls is an immersive documentary that takes us into the heart of a slum near Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, where we witness the transformation of young girls who join a local surf club and dare to dream of freedom and escape from a life of drudgery and abuse.
The documentary captures the raw emotions, the family dynamics, and the complex pressures of poverty. Balancing the freedom of the waves with the restrictive realities of their circumstances, we experience the thrill and struggle of coming-of-age in a developing country. Just like the ebb and flow of the waves, the viewer is taken from the light and joy that comes with a day of great waves to the darkness and unthinkable hardship which comes with poverty.
What emerges is an unlikely and successful community experiment that has created real futures for some of the girls in our story.
ELIZABETH D COSTA
Elizabeth D. Costa is a refreshing new talent from Bangladesh whose skills in documenting intimate images are evident in her first feature documentary, Bangla Surf Girls.
For over eight years Elizabeth has worked on media projects as producer, director, assistant producer, editor, and cameraperson. Recently she completed two projects for SBS Dateline, Australia and Big Blue Communications.
Elizabeth was invited to participate in the Film Independent lab 2020, the Chicken and Egg Accelerator Lab 2017. She is also an alumni of the IDFA academy .
She honed her career as an intern script supervisor for Tareque and Catherine Masud in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She worked for BBC Media Action, NOS Television, VICE News UK, Spanish TV, and Bloomberg TV. She also worked as assistant producer with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on A Journey of Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers. Currently Elizabeth is a freelance DOP and director and works on projects for major international media like CNN, BBC and SBS.
For over 20 years, Lalita Krishna has been producing and directing documentaries that have screened on all major networks in Canada, and have screened at film festivals around the world.
Lalita’s documentaries have been acclaimed for bringing important topics to the forefront and have often been a catalyst for change.
Through her career Lalita has mentored emerging talent through programs that run through the DOC Institute which she helped conceive. Passionate about diversity and inclusivity Lalita’s documentaries reflect her strong belief in empowering local filmmaker for authentic storytelling.
Lalita most recent Feature documentaries: ‘Fear of Dancing’ follows a chorophobe as he travels around the world confronting his worst nightmare. Other completed documentaries include ‘Untying the Knot’ which follows the survivor of a brutal domestic assault and premiered on CBC’s Documentary Channel in November 2019. Previous productions include “Listen to Me” winner of the Best feature doc at Real World 2015-the story of a survivor of child abuse who uses expressive arts therapy to help young women deal with family violence. Lowdown Tracks DM a digital website companion to Bishari Films’ Feature documentary about homeless musicians “Semisweet: Life in Chocolate”– an internationally acclaimed film about chld labour in the chocolate trade, with a mobile app to track good chocolate. Lalita’s films “Breakout’, ‘Jambo Kenya’ ‘Sweatin’ It’ and ‘Return to Ryan’s Well’ on the theme of youth and social activism are linked to the educational curriculum with accompanying teacher’s guides.