Sand City

(Sand City)

Film projects: Open Doors Hub

Bangladesh  ·  2019  ·  Color  ·  90'


SAND - an unstable element, reveals the life in the ruthless metropolis of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Three parallel stories about three individuals. A Buddhist Monk, A Woman and A Man. They are not directly related. Only one thing is common in their life. It is SAND.
The monk, Karunananda returns to the city after visit a monastery demolished by fanatics. He collects sand of the broken Buddha temple and tries to make a sand mandala to recover pain. But urban noise distracts him to complete the mandala which deserves greater attention.
Emma, the woman collects sand for her cat litter. She does it every week with her scooty. One day, she finds a finger in the sand, an amputated finger with red nail polish. Instead of being panicked she gradually develops a bond with the finger.
Hasan, the man works in a sand washing plant. He steals sand from the plant to make glass by himself at home. And this fantasy leads him toward destruction.


Director‘s Note

I have been both a subject and an observer of this city all my life. With age and the intervention of my camera, the negotiations and the revelations of the city changed; through the lens of my camera, the skeleton of the city unfolded before my eyes. As an image maker and story teller, images and sounds represent the essence of the city to me. When I look at the city through the lens, I become an outsider and insider at the same time and I cannot escape my city. With this film, I want to focus my gaze on deconstructing the monolith of this city. I want to join my camera in searching for the spirit of this city and its citizens. In this process, I want to trace the journey of my tormented soul and the roads it takes through the metropolis. This film is my chance to make a journey into my reality and coming face to face with my own story, instead of escaping it. Through this journey, I want to explore the many facets of urban survival, fantasy, sexuality and religion. I also want to weave a story by exploring my own emotions with the city and depict how this city constantly occupies my thoughts and creations.


Visual Concept

Overtly saturated and bright colors, dust and sand together give to the city a unique grittiness that adds a harshness and a texture. For me, a just use of color in cinema lends a harshness to the image that complements and accentuates the claustrophobia and grittiness of my characters and their suffocating world. At the same time, I want to make sure that nothing stands out as unnaturally stark. I will try and bring out how the normal and the mundane becomes surreal before our eyes. With a perspective akin to a paralyzed man’s gaze studying the world around.


Production Company Profile

Khona Talkies was established by Rubaiyat Hossain and Ashique Mostafa in 2008 with the vision of using young Bangladeshi talent to produce films locally with foreign co-production. Khona Talkies has produced and acquired a few award winning, internationally acclaimed as well as locally significant independent films. Khona Talkies attempts to work with themes that are otherwise silenced and marginalized.

Selected filmography of the production company

Under Construction by Rubaiyat Hossain (Fiction, 88’, 2015)

Statement After My Poet Husband’s Death by Tasmiah Afrin Mou (Fiction, 15’, 2016)

720 Degrees by Ishtiaque Zico (Experimental, 5’, 2010)







Mahde Hasan

Based on

Original Screenplay

Shooting format


Shooting location

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Shooting start date


Expected completion date


Production status

Writing / Development



Financing in place


Related biographie(s)