Pakistan’s short filmmakers are doing what our mainstream filmmakers are usually unable to do: tell subversive stories in equally subversive fashion and offer narratives that are not a mixture of everything.
From Saim Sadiq’s Darling to Maaz Maudood’s Machinepur, this is the genre that real cinema fans, who want to look beyond the mainstream arena, should be watching.
One such film is All That Perishes, a 30 minute short film, directed by Hira Nabi, who also directed the music video for ‘Dil Ki Khair’ by Ali Sethi in the recent past.
The film, which is set in the shipbreaking yard at Gadani, Balochistan, has had a very interesting festival circuit run; after a world premiere at CPH: DOX in March 2019 (where it played in competition for the New: Vision Award), it has been screened at DokuFest in Kosovo, Tasveer South Asian Film Festival in Seattle and Cambridge International Film Festival, Film South Asia in Kathmandu.
Most recently and perhaps most prominently, the film was recently screened in-competition at Sundance Film Festival, making it the only film to represent Pakistan at the prestigious festival in 2020. It was also screened at Louvre Museum in Paris as part of Rencontres Internationals Paris/Berlin and has been on view at the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich and at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi. Both sites, however, have presently been closed due to COVID-19 public health security measures.
The film has had limited screenings in Karachi and Lahore and with the support of Vasl Artists Association, AAN-Gandhara Arts Space, and Cinema 73, also had a screening at Gadani.
Written by Hira Nabi and Qurratulain Hyder with Faiz Zaidi on sound design, the film, noted the press statement, was supported by grants from Vasl Artists Association, Goethe-Institut Pakistan, and Prince Claus Fund. Apart from hoping for more screenings, noted Hira Nabi, “We also hope to see more independent films being produced in Pakistan, and more women helming them.”
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