Tuesday December 06, 2022

Napa x GIFF 2022 ends in promising and powerful spirit

The outcome of NAPA’s collaboration with GIFF, a two-day festival held in Karachi, ends in houseful manner.

September 29, 2022

Karachi: If day one of NAPA (National Academy of Performing Arts) collaborating with Gandhara International Film Festival (GIFF) pulled audiences in strong numbers, the second day of this festival went houseful, in many instances.

Apart from the simple fact that Sunday allows people to engage in intelligent discourse, depicted in various film formats, the collaborative event didn’t disappoint and lived up to the hype.

Shorts, filmmaker’s session, world premiere of a film, it was simply an event that you couldn’t become impervious to due to presence of every imaginable film-centric activity abound.

Set against the backdrop of the colonial-era architectural design - Hindu Gymkhana - allocated to NAPA in the noughties till today, the audience began pouring in for shorts, which is not something you’d expect. But from the film screening, panel discussion, filmmaker’s session, workshop and a world premiere, the second day eventually went sold out.

Among film screening, several were showcased including August Sky, The Headhunter’s Daughter, Trumpets in the Sky and Haru’s New Year and many more. Each film provoked a unique feeling, the kind you get when you’ve watched a piece of cinematic work that is nuanced, gut-wrenching and powerful enough to get lost in the corners of the mind.

The films came from countries as far as Canada, Brazil, Philippines and Palestine – among others.

Another promising session was a filmmaking masterclass by Asghar Ali Ghanchi. For any aspiring filmmaker, this was a much-needed session. Ghanchi broke down the intricacies of filmmaking as he walked the audience through its factors including ‘how to structure a story’. Reiterating what filmmakers have said through time, he, too maintained a similar view.

As Ghanchi noted, a film must have a beginning, middle and an end. But he also spoke about the importance of the story and what is needed before embarking on the mission to make a film.

Shorts, filmmaking masterclass, screenings of even animated work and all that you’d expect from a film festival was showcased.

The finale arrived with Murder Tongue, the 18-minute short from Pakistan, gearing up for the festival circuit.

This selection of the film at GIFF X NAPA, and judging by the response it got, it will have its moment wherever it goes.

Murder Tongue, screened at GIFF X NAPA 2022, has a relatable and riveting story. Beginning in Karachi, it focuses on the city in early nineties when uncertainty and constant volatility, backed by the powers that be, made it difficult for people residing in the city. Among those days, one Abdul Aziz Ansari learns via his daughter-in-law that his progeny, his son, has not returned home after hours. As a phone call arrives, what follows - without giving away the film - is Karachi answering in a time when violence in the city by the sea was experiencing a strange and brutal episode that hasn’t been forgotten till this day.

Directed by Ali Sohail Jaura with the brilliant Mo Azmi recruited as Director of Photography, Murder Tongue cast shines with Munawwar Saeed in particular including Amtul Baweja, Muhammad Zaman, Ibad Alam Sher, Raja Shahid Ali and Saad Zameer Fareed. The screening was followed by Q & A session ft. the cast and it went houseful.

Murder Tongue, a bilingual short (Sindhi-Urdu) film was a perfect pick to end the festival with because of how it unfolds.

If GIFF X NAPA 2022 tells us anything, it’s the simple fact that underestimating the audience is the wrong call. In the age of enormous content available, they are still willing to invest their time in a film festival if it aims at showcasing diverse films and pulls off all that goes along with a festival of this nature.