KARACHI: The three-day Aks International Minorities Festival Pakistan began at T2F on Friday with screening of films touching upon as varied subjects as AIDS and outlawed love.

The event began with a documentary film titled Ximei directed by Andy Cohen. It focuses on a Chinese AIDS activist, a peasant woman named Liu Ximei. She has a heart of gold and is out there to help and fight for her fellow AIDS patients who contracted the disease from blood transfusion in the 1990s. (In the ‘90s a big number of farmers were ‘encouraged’ by the authorities to sell blood; unfortunately, it is said and as was mentioned in the description provided by the festival’s organisers, many of them became HIV-infected from unhygienic medical equipment.)

In the pursuit of her goal and becoming the voice of the victims of the debilitating ailment, she begins to face multiple challenges. With the support of a group who gets along with her, Ximei manages to lend a helping hand to those who are discriminated against. The 2019 American venture has won a few awards, including the Golden Butterfly Award at the Movies That Matter Festival.

The other items of the festival included a documentary on a Hazara boxer by Safar Ali Danish and the Karachi premiere of Gulzar, a 30-minute film by the renowned TV playwright Fasih Bari Khan. Described as a story exploring the layers of self-discovery, it homes in on the people living in the red-light area.

The venue also held a simultaneous art exhibition titled Ay Jazba-i-Dil curated by Rumaisa in which works of artists Aqsa Waheed, Fahad Ubaid, Zaheer Mirza and Sumayyah Aidrus were displayed.

Earlier, the host of the programme informed the audience that the festival aims to highlight issues faced by sexual and religious minorities.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2021

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