Friday June 14, 2024

Documentary film festival in Islamabad

By Aijaz Gul
October 18, 2020

Islamabad : Foundation Art Divvy and Pakistan National Council of the Arts are jointly holding film festivals on six Fridays of October-November at PNCA Open Theater. The films are challenging and receiving desired response from serious film fans.

Selected documentaries, docudrama, shorts and features have been included by notable as well as upcoming filmmakers of short films. The galaxy brings on screen subjects, themes and actors not familiar to our cinema. This is then our cinema in not-so-distant future.

Efforts both from Foundation Art Divvy and Pakistan National Council of the Arts must be applauded.

The Work of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Saim Sddiq, Haroon ,Lara Lee, Anam Abbas, Arafat Mazhar, Hira Nabi, Mehra Omar, Adnanan Ahmad, Mobeen Ansari and Omar Riaz shines through their cinematic efforts.

Filmmaking is not easy, not even in the category of short films because so much goes into it from script and direction to acting, music , sound , production effects and finally marketing. True, unlike theatrical and feature films, they don’t bother with hassles of stardom and box office but their work has to be “good” enough to be seen in film festivals, TV and social media. So goes our themes: plots of the first two parts of the festival.

Darling brings us face to face with a trans woman who desperately struggles to become a dancer. Friendship supports through hardships, insulting and heart-breaking demands of showbiz. Song of Lahore is a concert tour of Sachal Studios, Lahore musicians to the United Studios for their performance at Lincoln Center New York. This is a good effort to show us the life and struggle of musicians in a foreign land.

Another notable film of the festival is Gul-Daudi in Black and White, which should have been in color. Produced by EMI Pakistan and based on Noorjehan’s film melodies from the fifties and sixties(Banjaran, Chingari, Ghunghat). The somewhat distorted visuals of love lost romance could have included, in parts, the gloss and glamour of Noorjehan in color. But then, the filmmaker is the best judge of what to film and how to film it.

‘All That Perishes’, on its surface, is about ship breaking at Gadani. However, through narration, the about-to-be scrapped ship takes a human shape which has travelled through rough seas, up and down its life. That is not all. Apart from the story of the ship, there is a tragic account of the workers at Gadani, their sweat (and at times blood) away from home and children to earn pennies. Notwithstanding their hardship and the remuneration they receive, it is a betrayal to humanity and self-respect. Tons of shame on the owners of ship breaking executives and their team. If that is not enough, Hellhole brings us the life and account of a gutter cleaner. The film opens with the gutter as its cleaner appears from beneath the loaded hellhole. While the respective municipal /development authority must sink its head and body in shame (as the hellhole cleaner does), the film is an open challenge to the municipal system.

Cheers once again to all filmmakers, Foundation Art Divvy and Pakistan National Council of the Arts for awakening our guilt by showing us the subjects to which we have remained oblivious and behind the surface (Read: unseen) .