KARACHI: Two hundred and ten international and local feature-length films, short films and documentaries will be screened at six venues in Karachi from today at the inaugural four-day Pakistan International Film Festival (PIFF). This was announced by the festival’s director Abrarul Hasan at a press conference on Wednesday evening.
The festival director said that the organisers received more than 1,500 films for the event out of which 210 were selected. The six venues where the films could be seen are: Nueplex Cinema, Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institut, T2F and Iqra University (North Nazimabad and Defence).
Giving a brief account of the films to be shown at the event, Abrar said Pakistani film Cake will premiere at Nueplex Cinema followed by the documentary Some Lover to Some Beloved on the first day (March 29). On day two, The Valley, starring Samina Pirzada and Alyy Khan, and the Indian film Kucch Bheege Alfaaz directed by Onir (who will be attending the festival) will be shown. On day three, Lala Begum directed by Mehreen Jabbar and the Indian film The Song of Scorpions with Irrfan Khan in the cast will be shown. On the last day, April 1, The Wishing Tree, starring Shabana Azmi, Momal Rano (with Saba Qamar in the lead) and a Balochi film Zaraab will be the highlights.
Over 200 films to be shown over four days
Apart from the screenings, panel discussions on topics such as ‘Film diplomacy and cross-border collaboration’ and ‘Genre busters’ participated by the likes of Haseena Moin, Nandita Das, Vishal Bhardwaj, Jami, S. Rajamouli (director of Bahubali), Vinay Pathak etc will be held at Ziauddin University.
Earlier, addressing the media, founder of PIFF Sultana Siddiqui said societies and countries are recognised by the kind of art and culture they produce. We should also support and promote the talent that we have in Pakistan. Films provide film-makers with the chance to put their energies to good use. Our artists need a platform where they could showcase their talent, and the festival gives them that platform. This, however, could not have been possible if she hadn’t had the support of like-minded people, as a result of which the event has become a reality in three months.
She also acknowledged the role of the federal government, Sindh government and the private sector in helping the cause adding that every Indian participant in the festival got a visa.
After the speeches, the trophy which will be given to the winners at the festival designed by sculptor Abdul Jabbar Gul was unveiled. The media were told that every single trophy given was handmade.
Finally, Oscar-winning Pakistani film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy declared the festival open. Before doing that she said every film festival not only encourages art and culture but also rejuvenates the local economy. She hoped that PIFF would become the source of rejuvenation for the city of Karachi and audiences from and outside the city would experience all the films.
Ronak Lakhani, Saeeda Laghari and Jamil Baig also spoke. Misbah Khalid conducted the press briefing.
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2018