KARACHI: The Valleys Our Ancestors Chose, a captivating documentary and part of the docuseries Voices from the Roof of the World, has been honoured with the Mrinal Sen Golden Award for best direction in documentary at the sixth South Asian Short Film Festival.

According to a press release, director Tazeen Bari’s film gives an eye-opening and touching perspective into the lives of the Kalasha community. Living on the frontlines of climate change, the film captures how the remaining people of the Kalasha community come face-to-face with the devastating impacts of severe and unusual weather conditions.

The Valleys Our Ancestors Chose documents the community’s annual harvest festival, providing a profound exploration of their resilience and determination in the aftermath of historic floods that devastated much of Pakistan.

Expressing her gratitude for the award, Tazeen said, “I am deeply honoured and grateful for the recognition. This film is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Kalasha community and their unwavering spirit in the face of climate change. Together, we hope to amplify the voices of marginalised communities and contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future.”

“The record-breaking floods of 2010 and 2022 in Pakistan were two of the most devastating natural disasters that caused widespread damage and displacement. These floods were a warning to South and Central Asia that climate change is a serious and present threat to the region. We need to work together to prepare for the challenges of global warming by developing innovative local solutions and capacity to support local governments and civil society in relief efforts,” said President Agha Khan University (AKU) Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin.

Voices from the Roof of the World is a joint initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network agencies: AKU, Aga Khan Agency for Habitat, Aga Khan Foundation, and the University of Central Asia. The docuseries aims to highlight the challenges faced by communities due to climate change and local solutions adapted to tackle adversity.

Shepherds of Naar, another documentary, also gained recognition at the festival with the Satyajit Ray Golden Award for Best Documentary.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2023

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