Abrar Hassan and Madeeha Raza of Morango Films, the initiators and practical organisers of the 60 Second International Film Festival (60SIFF), had good reason to celebrate on Saturday.
The large auditorium of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) was packed when the event opened. The organisers had received over 400 entries from film-makers from over 20 countries worldwide. Each film was only 60 seconds, or one minute. “Yes, because people don’t have time to listen to long stories any more,” Abrar and Madeeha said.
“The film-makers should be focused and to the point and say as much as they can in little time. That I know also from my work in advertising. We should use the same thinking when making films with social messages,” Abrar explained.
“Of course, the films are a bit short, and they are perhaps more like intros or trailers for the topic to be explored further. But when the films are good, it is amazing how much one can say in a short minute. In our time, it is important that film-making is not only for specialists.”
“However, in future, we may have 180-second or 360-second film competitions. This was our second festival, and there is room for improvements and changes. But the most important is to encourage ordinary youth and others to use their creative talent to make uncomplicated little films that can contribute to change and betterment of society,” Abrar Hassan and Madeeha Raza stressed.
Pakistan won the third prize in the 60SIFF-festival with a film by Zahid Gill named Fiayasa Kowa in the ‘creative’ category. The second prize went to Nick Rowell, UK, for his film Webbed in the ‘fiction’ category, and the first prize was taken by Hashim Hameed Hashim from Yemen for the film I won my World as I see It in the ‘peace’ category.
The renowned American film-makers and teachers Ted Brown and Marylin Agrelo said they were impressed by the work done and the talent they found in Pakistan. They are touring educational institutions in the country under a US State Department programme called American Film Showcase (AFS), organised in partnership with the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California (USC).
They answered questions after the documentary film Side by Side had been shown, which summarised aspects of the history of film, with projections for the future.
They said the film medium will survive even in our digital time, but changes in technology will at all times continue to be made.
“This was a marvelous evening. We are very glad we came,” said two young university students, Umber Ali from Rawalpindi, who studies mass media, and Meheryar Khan from Peshawar, who studies project management, and has begun writing fiction stories.
“This gave me ideas for new teaching projects,” said Nasreen Iqbal of Grammar School Rawalpindi, as she and her head teacher left enthusiastically for their dinner appointment.