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Dukhtar to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival

Updated August 20, 2014


Dukhtar's cast and crew. — Publicity Photo
Dukhtar's cast and crew. — Publicity Photo

Pakistan's first road trip thriller, Dukhtar was previously slated for an August 14 release. However, the team had recently announced the new release date on the film's official Facebook page with a cover photo which read, "Dukhtar is announcing a new release date of September 18, 2014. We have a really cool reason why it's being shifted but you gotta wait a few more days to find out why."

Now we know what this 'really cool reason' is.

According to a press release, Dukhtar is set to premiere globally at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Friday, September 5, as an official selection in the festival’s Discovery section.

Dukhtar's new Facebook cover photo

The Discovery section of the TIFF showcases feature films by first and second time directors from around the world. This year approximately 25% of filmmakers in the Discovery programme are women. Followed by its international release, Dukhtar's theatrical release in Pakistan is scheduled for Thursday, September 18 at leading cinemas and film houses nationwide.

"It’s a great honour for a Pakistani film to be selected for Toronto. We hope audiences all over the world get to enjoy this beautiful film with a beautiful heart. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry. It will make you sit on the edge of the seat until the very last scene of the film. I am so looking forward to bringing Dukhtar home right after Toronto," said the award-winning director, Afia Nathaniel.

Jane Schoettle, Programmer for TIFF, said, “TIFF is dedicated to presenting strong contemporary stories from around the world, and Afia Nathaniel's Dukhtar is precisely that: a beautifully photographed, compelling story that is universally accessible. We are pleased to present the film in our Discovery section, where we aim to draw attention to this year's most exciting emerging directorial talents, a category into which Afia Nathaniel most certainly fits.”

The producer of Dukhtar, Muhammad Khalid Ali said, “This is an incredibly proud and humbling moment for us all. This is the first time a Pakistani film made by Pakistanis is going to be showcased in the world’s most popular film festival. The talent of our local cast and crew will now be seen on the big screen by the rest of the world.”

Dukhtar highlights the issue of child marriage through the setup of a road-trip thriller that explores the intense drama of a mother’s frenzied search for a new life for her daughter with the help of ex-Mujahid truck driver played by award-winning actor Mohib Mirza. The film is set against the backdrop of the surreal landscapes and roads of Hunza, Skardu, Gilgit and Kallar Kahar all the way to the urbanscape of Lahore.

— Publicity Photo
— Publicity Photo

The feature film boasts a star studded cast that includes Samyia Mumtaz, Mohib Mirza, Saleha Aref, Asif Khan, Ajab Gul, Adnan Shah (Tipu), Abdullah Jan, Samina Ahmed and Omair Rana.

Dukhtar has already garnered significant international acclaim and is the first Pakistani feature film to have won several prestigious and highly competitive film production awards including the Hubert Bals Fund, SORFUND, National Geographic’s All Road Seed grant, Adrienne Shelly and Women in Film-NETFLIX Award.