LAHORE: Seedlings came home to Pakistani audiences for its first ever screening in the country at the LUMS 7th Annual Film Festival Filums on the 9th of February, after having had a successful run at the New York City International Film Festival where it garnered two awards and received much acclaim.
The director Mansoor Mujahid explained the choice of the subject matter to the audience and the statement the filmmakers were trying to make.
“Normally what we want is guns, violence - bigger, better more. It’s very difficult to do that in a country where there is enough of it as there is. So they end up being more character based pieces, but the whole point of this was that we didn’t want to let that stop us and we didn’t want it to end up being about just a few people.”
“Lamha” won the Best Feature Film – Audience Award and its leading lady Aamina Sheikh won the Best Actress in Leading Role award at the Angelika Film Centre in New York.
The film was nominated in five other categories, including Best Actor in Leading Role (Mohib Mirza), Best Actor in Supporting Role (Gohar Rasheed), Best Score, Best Original Screenplay (Summer Nicks) and Best Director (Mansoor Mujahid).
Lamha, centres around a young couple Maliha (Sheikh) and Raza (Mirza) and those affected by their grief and deep struggle to reconnect after the loss of their lone child in a heart-rending accident.
The producer of the film and the brains behind Bodhicitta Works, Meher Jaffri, explored the inevitable plague of attempting to nurture creative talent in Pakistan: the Pakistani film industry itself, or the lack thereof.
“It’s kind of been market creation in a certain way because there hasn’t been a film like this that has come out in cinemas over here. The distribution industry over here is very concerned with obviously making a lot of money, as everybody is. A lot of Hollywood and Bollywood films become typified as what they say is what the masses would want, which is fine, but there has to be some kind of room to show independent, good-quality filmmaking - because if there isn’t, there’s no room to allow the talent that’s behind it to grow.”
The inexistence of a stimulating framework or any real industry that aspiring filmmakers can reasonably expect to learn from and become a part of is why such little work seems to be done in independent filmmaking.
The tragedy of the situation is of course that the opposite is also true; that the lack of contribution from creative talent saves the industry from growing, perpetuating a vicious cycle that Seedlings will hopefully attempt to become a stepping stone towards breaking.