Short Biography

Sohel Rahman is an award winning filmmaker, writer, journalist and producer based in Lisbon, Berlin and Chittagong. He teaches films at several universities around the world. His films have been screened internationally in various film festivals and universities. Sohel received the best feature documentary film award from South Asian Film Festival of Montreal, Canada in 2021, and from Tasveer South Asian film Festival, Seattle in 2021 for his film The Ice Cream Sellers 75” (2021)

Screenings and Masterclasses

Words From Professors & Experts

Stefan Jonsson

Professor, Head of Division ~ Linköping University, Sweden


“I want to thank you again, Sohel, for your wonderful film that expresses so much solidarity for the two children, and by extension all the children. It is quite a unique film, bold in its seeming simplicity, and I am sure it was not a simple thing to make. In the course evaluation many students highlighted the screening of The Ice Cream Sellers and the conversation with you as one of the best moments in the course. They were also struck by the combination of simplicity and depth, and your ability to connect to the children.”

Dr. Kathie Carpenter

Professor, Global Studies ~ University of Oregon, USA


“The Ice Cream Sellers” is a brilliant, beautiful and haunting film. It immerses viewers into the daily lives of Rohingya refugees, clarifying their complicated and vexing situation through the power of perceptive storytelling. It will be of special interest for scholars of Refugee and Migration Studies, South and Southeast Asian Studies, Childhood Studies and Cinema Studies, but is engaging and well-crafted enough to draw in general audiences as well. It not only informs audiences about the Rohingya genocide, but it will make them care about it. As educators, we know that our challenge is not simply to provide our students with information, but rather to get them to pay attention and remember the information that we give them. “The Ice Cream Sellers” raises questions in the minds of viewers that will spur them to seek more information on their own about this important but little-known crisis.”

Dr. Anna Morcom

PROFESSOR, ETHNOMUSICOLOGY ~ Mohindar Brar Sambhi Chair of Indian Music


“The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Center for India and South Asia (CISA) screened the film The Ice Cream Sellers in 2022 followed by a Q&A with the director Sohel Rahman to excellent reception by faculty, students, and members of the public”.

Dr. Fritzi-Marie Titzmann

Humboldt University of Berlin


“Their seemingly endless journey through the winding alleys of the camp is interspersed with brief encounters with other residents who give the filmmaker glimpses into their stories, with interludes of children playing or people observing their daily tasks. The colourful ice lollies are a beautiful symbol of moments of joy and pleasure in the midst of this devastating human tragedy.”

Mara Ahmed

Filmmaker, Jury member, SAFM


The opening shots create this sharp contrast between the stunning beauty of the fields and hills in Bangladesh and the destitution of people who have witnessed hideous violence. The film’s cinematography is beautiful. It’s quiet, long shots allow us to take in the immensity of the situation. It’s not manipulative, with no music or fancy editing, rather it’s a sobering ethnographic portrait of Rohingya refugees. the film is raw, truthful, moving.

Connect With Sohel For Inspiring Film Talks at Your University

Films

Professor Nayanika Mookherjee (Anthropology, Co-Director, IAS):

In 2021, the United Nations declared it was the International Year of Peace and Trust (IYPT) to reaffirm the UN’s role to settle disputes peacefully. Durham University also had a set of PhD studentships based on that theme given the strength of the UN Sustainable Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). Across the University we had four such studentships and I am fortunate to be on the supervisory team of Fiona Macgregor who is being supervised by Professor Catherine O’ Rourke in Law, with myself and Professor Roger MacGinty (DGSI) being the co-supervisors. Read More...

Ms Fiona Macgregor (Peace and Trust PhD student in the School of Law and Co-supervised by Anthropology, School of Government):

In 2017 a campaign of genocidal ethnic cleansing forced hundreds of thousands of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims to flee over the border into Bangladesh. The stories they told of murder, rape and torture perpetrated against them and their families horrified the world. Almost six years after those events, around 1 million Rohingya remain in Bangladesh, trapped in desperately overcrowded refugee camps where they are denied many of their basic human rights, including to adequate food and shelter, with little hope of a safe return to their homeland in the foreseeable future. Read More...

Dr Sadaf Noor Islam (Postdoctoral scholar in Anthropology):

During the COVID-19 lockdown, while we were looking at mistrust in health services among Rohingya people in camps in Bangladesh as a part of our British Academy funded ongoing research, “Household Dynamics and Decision Making Under COVID-19,” (with Professor Nayanika Mookherjee as PI) one of the challenges I encountered was overcoming the inability to conduct the fieldwork physically. Since the time of classical empirical research in anthropology, ‘being in the field’ has been considered the most essential part of anthropological research. As we had to conduct the empirical research remotely, we acknowledged that ‘being in the field’ was missing in our study. Read More...

Professor Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Anthropology):

Today 10 million people around the world are stateless – that is, they are “persons who are not considered to be nationals by any State under the operation of its law”. As a result of being denied a nationality, stateless persons have difficulty accessing even the most basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. The case of the Rohingya is one of the largest protracted displacement situations in the world. Bangladesh hosts close to one million Rohingyas from Myanmar. Over nine hundred thousand of them – are hosted in 33 highly congested camps in Cox’ s Bazar District. Read More...

Ms Tahura Enam Naville (PhD student in Anthropology):

The film, ‘The Ice Cream Sellers’ (2021) displayed the everyday camp experiences of Stateless Rohingya communities living in Bangladesh and also the landscape of largest refugee camp through beautiful visual representations. In this film, the director as story-teller followed the young ice cream sellers who sell ice cream in the camps, hoping to release their father from prison in Myanmar. This is a female-headed household where the mother cannot go out to work given, she has younger children to look after and given her husband is in prison in Myanmar. This could easily be misread as the need ‘to maintain Purdah and religious restrictions only for women to be indoors. Read More...

Ms Arwa Alzraiy (Peace and Trust PhD student in the School of Education):

The Ice Cream Sellers felt like an emotional and intellectual attack. And rightly so! Reading dry news report or watching vivid, short videos broadcasting highlights of the Rohingya camp, one is concerned with the crisis; watching an ethnographic representation of the ‘mundane’, the now-normal, day-to-day life the Rohingya refugees are living in the camps, one is driven to become the refugee. Even if it was a short, condensed and televised experience, the film still echoes great depths of the refugees’ plight. Little Asia and Ayas stand for millions of refugees in camps doing whatever it takes to claim their given basic rights whether that of ‘bailing’ a father out of prison, Read More...

Ms Bhakti Khati (Peace and Trust PhD student in the Department of Psychology):

Humans are more inclined to help those whom they know and are more likely to help one person they know than a big group. This is known as the ‘identifiable victim effect’ and often you will see advertisements from various organisations portraying the hardships faced by one child affected by conflict in order to appeal to this human tendency and generate more donations and efforts towards the cause. However often these portrayals are of misery, to generate pity for those affected. This can often strip the victims of their dignity and shape a narrative of “we need to save these helpless humans”.Read More...

Professor Roger Mac Ginty (Director, Durham Global Security Institute):

Sohel Rahman’s poignant film, The Ice Cream Sellers is an assault on the senses and emotions We can sense the heat, noise and toil and see the love, frustration and sorrow among the Rohingya refugees portrayed. “We are in a miserable condition”, says one of the interviewees early on. The film is an excellent primer on the United Nations seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The condition of the refugees, living in the planet’s largest refugee camp, shows the necessity of international and national actors taking decisive action on the SDGs Read More...