Films have an everlasting effect on us, subtly yet firmly they shape us, our perspectives, and our views. The films we watched in our childhoods are still a part of us, covertly weaved in between our ideas and opinions. This medium of art shapes us into the people we become.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a well-known director, has devised Pakistan’s largest, filmmaking grant and mentorship programme, ‘Stories from Southern Pakistan’ featuring female filmmakers from Sindh and Balochistan. This project supported and funded by a grant from the US Consulate Karachi, has aimed to empower, uplift and encourage the next generation of Pakistani women in film to create documentaries that push boundaries and start important conversations.
The two-time academy award winner has enabled women from different regions of Pakistan to enhance their talent of filmmaking, one that is often overlooked even in the field of art. “I am proud of our cohort of 19 women filmmakers for crafting these remarkable films, which shed light on critical issues pertinent to Southern Pakistan. I am also excited to see what these Patakha Pictures fellows will accomplish next as they pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable film ecosystem in Pakistan,” announced Sharmeen.
The filmmakers worked in pairs, over the past several months, these aspiring artists attended online filmmaking workshops, and an in-person editing week with NoéMendelle (member of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, and Director of the Scottish Documentary Institute) and Jesse Ericka Epstein (Sundance Award-Winning documentary filmmaker, and VMA Affiliated Faculty, Emerson College), honed their skills and crafted their short documentary films. The result is 10 short films that offer unique perspectives and captivating storytelling on themes such as women’s empowerment, violence against women and minorities, arts, culture, climate change and peace building. “Empowering women and ensuring their economic inclusion is a key priority for us. At the US Consulate Karachi, we’re immensely proud to support this women’s filmmaking project. Through their films, they highlight critical social issues, challenge assumptions, and offer innovative perspectives, shedding light on daily challenges. From the impact of last year’s floods to using theatre to advocate for human rights, their work provides us all with a fresh perspective and deeper insight into issues that impact us all - this is a crucial step toward creating a brighter future for everyone,” said Conrad Tribble, Consul of General of US Consulate General Karachi.
The completion of these films marks a significant milestone in the careers of these talented women, solidifying their place in the world of cinema.
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