Director: Tanim Ibne Yousuf & Kauser Haider |Bangladesh
Quest of a Mother who lost her son to human traffickers luring him into an illegal journey over the sea on a boat of death.
Seven years ago, Joynal left home for a better living and never came back.
Joynal’s mother Amena, as a mother, she still wants to know where is Joynal? What happened to him?
Her first husband Khuilla Miah who is Joynal’s father, left her in the hospital during the birth of Sohel Rana (Joynal’s Younger brother). Amena donated Sohel to a family when he was 21 day old due to poverty. After losing Joynal, Amena wants to meet Sohel to reduce her emptiness about son. But Sohel is forbidden to meet her.
Packing his bag with few clothes, Joynal walked into his grand mother’s house which is very next to his house. Other family members are in the field at that time and he wants to say goodbye to his grandma but without letting her understand where he is going. Grandma asked Joynal to have lunch with her and after lunch, he rushed to leave walking through the dry, dusty village road surrounded by tobacco fields. Grandma couldn’t get his intention but followed him as long as she can. After while Joynal hopped into an electric three-wheeler vehicle and asked grandma to go home. Jerking in the vehicle, tobacco fields flew past and Joynal was dreaming about the journey where he can earn a lot of money and enjoy his future. It took 30 minutes to reach Ramu city from his village Sonaichori and in Ramu he was accompanied by Amanullah and other two young men from neighbor village. Together they hopped in a bus to reach Teknaf, the southernmost part of Bangladesh.
In the other part, Amena was worried for her son and after three days in the midnight her mobile ranged screened with Joynal’s mobile number. When Amena received the call, her son was crying and saying that they are going to start the boat and they won’t be able to contact during the voyage. He also said that, they will reach Malaysia by three days and these are the last words heard by Amena from her son seven years ago. Helpless Amena living a destitute life being a daily labor in the tobacco field. She tried to reach Journalists, local police but in all the steps she was deceived and lost her money.
Later that day, Amena received a news from Farid (the middleman), who is Amanullah’s father. Farid asked her to give ransom for Joynal, which is the way to take money from victims of this illegal journey. And mother’s and family members like Amena, arrange the amount by selling ornaments, lands, cows.
And 8 months ago, Amanullah came back to Bangladesh and as a routine practice Amena asked him about her son since she gave the money to his father Farid. But on that very moment, Amanullah strike Amena and denied about the voyage which he took with Joynal.
Thousands of young men from Bangladesh has been reportedly missing in last ten years and still going on missing. Amena represents the unfortunate mothers of Bangladesh who lost their son in this journey. The boat that start the voyage but when it vanishes in the sea of Bay of Bengal and becomes a Ghost Boat.
- _Research and Development, Planning Interviews of key characters- December’2020
- _Rough Edit, building rough structure of the documentary, Identify gaps- June’ 2021
- _Remaining Key Location Shooting and Life Documentation, Teknaf to deep sea journey- August’2021
- _Full Edit and Review- December’ 2021
Director’s Statement *
Joynal is a young man, one of many, who was lured into making a journey from a remote village in Cox’sbazar to find a better livelihood in Malaysia. They crammed many of these young men in small boats to make a dangerous voyage across the Bay of Bengal. Most of them perished during the journey. Amena – Joynal’s mother has been trying to find her lost son ever since. Her attempts to find her lost son takes us into this little-known world of illegal human trafficking and lives of countless others who lost their loved ones in these dangerous journeys. This story still continues today with hundreds of other young men making the same dangerous expedition. In last ten years, there were 10000 young people like Joynal is reportedly missing on the journey to Malaysia. There is a lot of mother’s story who lost their son due to this system of human trafficking from Bangladesh. Amena’s story is representing those mothers suffering with the unbearable pain of losing child. These trafficking routes is very common in my district and I have close contacts with victims of this journey. Being a local one, I can access their stories, I know about these journeys from my teenage. And this topic is very important for our society, to stop young people to do these illegal journeys. In a recent story in Libya, 26 Bangladeshis were killed and all of them entered illegally.
Kauser Haider is a documentary photographer based out of Bangladesh. He has graduated from the Pathshala-South Asian Media Academy. He has participated in various international workshops conducted by renowned practitioners such as Philip Blenkinsop, Shannon Lee castleman, Shorab Hura, Abir abdullah and Munem wasif. Among projects he has completed are a story on handicapped children in Nepal and A Hall Full of Cinema which was exhibited internationally in the Angkor ,Singapore and Delhi photo festivals and also participant National Art Exhibition 2017 (22 edition), LONG ATTITUDE an Art Happening in Coxbazar-2018, Cheragi Art Show 7 in Chittagong 2019.He have also worked Short documentary film name OFF THE GRID as a photographer and production.
Kauser is a freelance teacher and also founder member of MasTul (Art collective) in Chittagong.
Tanim Ibne Yousuf
Tanim love films and always interested political and social crisis issues. He is practicing documentary film making. He has participated as observer in Dhaka Doc lab international 2019 and regional workshops in 2019 conducted by renowned practitioners. He is a member of MasTul (Art collective) and Bistaar (Art Complex) in Chittagong. This project is his first feature documentary.
Self-fund spent: 1100 USD
Tanim Ibne Yousuf