KARACHI: Alliance Francaise de Karachi played host to Cineaste One Student Film Festival (COSFF), a one-evening event on Saturday, featuring selected works from budding film-makers studying the cinematic arts at various local institutes.
The event, the second in succession, though the first to be publically screened, is the brainchild of Rumman Zia, an expat filmmaker and mentor at Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture.
“Its purpose was a simple one”, Mr. Zia tells us earlier, “to introduce, promote and encourage emerging Pakistani filmmakers”.
COSFF, as its press release states, is “committed to support emerging filmmakers, screening original and distinctive films for cinema lovers. This festival institutes (their) journey to build a solid local filmmaking infrastructure”.
A collection of 13 short films by 9 filmmakers, ranging from 3 to 20 minutes, were shown to a limited, but packed audience, including a jury that included, Jean-Francois Chenin, Director Alliance Francaise Karachi, John-Armand Bazard, their Director Education, Rahmatullah Khan who runs their Photography program and Dawn.com and Images on Sunday’s resident film critic Mohammad Kamran Jawaid.
As a rule, the submitted films were prohibited to be published online.
The films presented were: Existent by Sara Jamil; Trance by Zeeshan Contractor; Until the Last Moment by Ali Bilal; the short-skit Tit for Tat by Khizar Qazi; 9th August – the Day of Death by Ateeq; Feint (Banawat) by Nida Aslam; Trap by Urooj Fatima; The Passanger by M. Salman Khan; Façade, again by Ms. Jamil; 7A, also by Ms. Fatima; Masterpiece by Mr. Contractor; The City of Lights by Ms. Aslam and Kurrachee by Muhammad Ali.
The mix was idiosyncratic, varying from psychedelic art-house to horror, comedy and near-mainstream, each accomplishing or faltering depending on the form of the presentation, personal indulgence and the filmmaker’s still-in training hand.
Out of the selection, Existent, a smartly photographed short about human confinement, The Passenger a slight horror tale about a rickshaw driver and a passenger and Kurrachee, a smartly written account shot in first-person view of a man who gets run-over in a bustling bazaar, are worth special mention.
The audience, and the jury as it would seem, responded particularly in favor of Mr. Ali’s work. The film won the Best Short Film Award at the COSFF.
Mr. Ali, a student of South Asian Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Television, and a late arrival at the festival didn’t expect to win; in fact he didn’t even know that the films were part of a competition.
“I was pleasantly shocked”, he tells us later. According to Mr. Ali, Kurrachee took 3 months to make from concepts to execution (the film was “conceived in October and wrapped by early January”, says Mr. Ali). The short was written and produced by Mohsin Ali Sadiq, and the lead-actor harnessed to a POV-Camera rig was Danish Hasan.
According to Mr. Jawaid the winner was the best entry of COSFF. “What makes it different, and perhaps instantly appealing”, said Mr. Jawaid, “Is that there is a proper narrative layout in the film. One can easily see a 3-act structure – a proper beginning, middle and an end – and, perhaps more importantly, that the movie never went overboard in its execution”.
“It was technically apt. It was precisely edited. It never got boring. The screenplay was sharp and witty, and something which I believe would communicate directly with your common layman, without pressuring his viewing experience with hard-core film-school taught art”.
“If I would have paid to see a movie, then Kurrachee would have worth the price of admission”, he said.