After garnering recognition at the Toronto Film Festival, Afia Nathaniel's road trip thriller Dukhtar won the awards for 'Best Director' and 'Audience Award for Best Feature' at the 11th South Asian Film Festival (SAIFF) held in New York City.
Nabeel Qureshi’s comedy thriller Na Maloom Afraad which has been receiving rave reviews was also nominated and screened on the closing of the festival.
Dukhtar has also been selected by the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the 'Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 87th Academy Awards.
|Director Afia Nathaniel looks on as the lead actor Samiya Mumtaz speaks to a reporter.- Photo courtesy: Afia Nathanaiel's Twitter account|
SAIFF is the largest film premiere destination for South Asian/Indian filmmakers in the United States and was initiated in New York due to the under-representation of Indian cinema in a capital that is recognised by the world as the birthplace of independent film-making.
The festival showcases films from South Asia (i.e. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal) and also from within the Indian diaspora.
In a departure from traditional film fare, 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.
Dukhtar had already gained 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.