Celebrating the journey of young Pakistani filmmakers

Published June 26, 2022
British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy pose for a photograph with upcoming filmmakers at a ceremony in Islamabad on Friday night. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy pose for a photograph with upcoming filmmakers at a ceremony in Islamabad on Friday night. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: The British Council organised a film screening event titled ‘Pakistan Stories’ in collaboration with Patakha Pictures in Pakistan and the Scottish Documentary Institute in the UK.

‘Pakistan Stories’ sought to support a new generation of female Pakistani documentary filmmakers to enable them to create engaging films that reflected on their society, and Pakistan’s 75 years of independence.

The event celebrated the journey of 10 selected filmmakers through the programme.

They were mentored by experts in Pakistan and Scotland to develop and finance their creative skills so they could produce five short documentaries in a safe environment and reach new local and international audiences through their work.

The documentaries covered important themes including child and forced marriages, the rights of transgender persons, women and disability, women in education and the feminist movement in Pakistan.

Guests at the event included British High Commissioner to Pakistan Christian Turner, Deputy Director of the British Council Mark Crossey, filmmaker and founder of Patakha Pictures, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, director of the Scottish Documentary Institute; Noe Mendelle as well as diplomats, senior government officials, journalists, established artists and young aspiring artists and filmmakers.

Christian Turner said: “Film is a brilliant vehicle for telling stories and giving women voice. With trailblazers like two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and by combining the best of UK and Pakistan expertise, we can unleash the potential of the next generation of female filmmakers and women and girls across Pakistan.”

British Council Pakistan Deputy Director Mark Crossey said: “The British Council is delighted to have enabled this platform for emerging female Pakistani filmmakers to hone their skills and tell stories about Pakistan as we mark its 75th anniversary with our Pakistan/UK: New Perspectives programme of activity. I look forward to these films being showcased across festivals in Pakistan and the UK.”

In her remarks, the founder of Patakha Pictures and leading filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said in the past week she had witnessed the growth of these 10 filmmakers and that the seeds of a movement were being laid that would ensure that young women across Pakistan would be empowered to finally tell their own stories in their own words.

Noe Mendelle said the Scottish Documentary Institute was excited to be part of collaboration with Patakha Pictures and British Council Pakistan, involving nurturing female filmmakers in enhancing their directorial voice in documentary.

“Working with reality is a humbling experience and female filmmakers are especially well equipped creatively and mentally to engage with emotional, challenging stories that need to be shared with the rest of the world,” Noe Mendelle said.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2022

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