It Happens Only In Pakistan: Watch the winning documentary films of 'HOPE'

This year, the 'Heroes of Pakistan Edition' contest celebrates the often overlooked individuals who form society's rich tapestry.
Published November 9, 2021

In its fourth year, and Deutsche Welle (DW)'s celebrated video storytelling competition, It Happens Only In Pakistan, serves as a celebration of budding filmmakers who bring to light the struggles and courage of Pakistan's most resilient heroes.

The three winning films take home prize money worth Rs500,000, Rs300,000, and Rs200,000, respectively.

First Prize: Saf-e-Awal

A film by Muhammad Afnan Yousaf and Rehan Zafar from Capture Crew Studio

Saf-e-Awal introduces us to Ashfaq Ahmed; a frontline worker who is among the very first medics to sign up and serve Covid patients.

His story is that of resilience and unwavering dedication in the face of the pandemic, as well as his own illness.

Second Prize: Humari Rabia

By Khawaja Athar Abbas and Khawaja Bilal Abbas from Athar-Bilal Films

This is the story of Rabia, a football champion who dreams big and overcomes numerous challenges along her path.

Playing against all odds, Humari Rabia battles not just her disability but also the stigma surrounding females opting to pursue a career in sports. Her story serves as inspiration for all those who fear they may never realise their dreams.

Third Prize: Indus Woman

A film by Halar Khoso, Imran Ali, Uzair Shah from Mad In Films.

For Baby Bagri, education will bring to the youth a lot more than just the will and means to explore the world.

Halar Khoso's film highlights the commitment of one woman towards providing the young of her community everything she was herself deprived of. Capturing what life in the Bagri community of Sindh offers to the underprivileged, this film is a reminder of what strong women - irrespective of their age, marital status or socio-economic background - can do to empower those around them.

With her unwavering commitment to transform her community, Baby Bagri has successfully established a school and training centre in the heart of a place that shows little empathy towards those born and raised in the shackles of poverty.

Two outstanding films were recognised as honourable mentions; each won Rs100,000 in prize money.

Honourable Mention: Rowdy

A film by S. Khurram Ali, Sehar Ali, Syed Khurram Ali, Marina Syed, Ali Sahil, M.Yasir, Mohammad Amin, Syed Shehroz, Ghulam Mohammad Meer from S. Khurram Ali Films.

This film captures the courageous story of Marina Syed, a young Afghan girl who took fate into her own hands and learned to drive a bike in a society that looks down upon women challenging gender norms.

In this story of bravery and passion, S. Khurram Ali and his team highlight how one girl’s bold step became an inspiration for over 300 other girls to reclaim public spaces and find their own means to freedom and independence.

Honourable Mention: Burushaski

A film by Fahad Kahut; other participants include, Ahsan Khan & Aamir Hashmi, Ahsan Khan, Aamir Hashmi

Meet Haseena's dadi - the 103 year old who sings and claps her way into teaching the young how to preserve their identity.

This film captures the beauty of not just the scenic valleys of Hunza, but the people who enliven tradition and culture by preserving their language via the Lief Larson Music School; a platform built by the youth of Hunza to commemorate and preserve the Burushaski language.

Photo Essay Prize: Heroes of Pakistan Chowk

A visual trip down one of Karachi's busiest neighbourhoods by Saad Ali Choudhry.

It Happens Only In Pakistan is a nationwide video story and photo essay contest organised by and Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's international broadcaster.

Digging deeper into the lives of the heroes we often overlook, this year's #HeroesOfPakistanEdition of #ItHappensOnlyInPakistan contest had themes exploring inspiring people who give us hope of a better tomorrow.

Winners may also get a chance to work with DW Urdu on future video projects.

The contest accepted entries from June 7 to August 14, 2021.