The first Pakistan International Film Festival (PIFF) took place last week with full drive. The four day event (from 29 Mar to 1 April), was full of happenings that included penal discussion, movie screenings and gala dinners. The festival was started with a press conference and the unveiling of award trophies a day prior to the actual event.
This festival comprises panel discussions on the subjects of ‘Film Diplomacy & Cross Border Collaboration’, ‘Innovation on Screen: Digital Dimensions’, ‘Genre Busters’, ‘From Script to Screen and Beyond’, ‘Films for Change: Socially Motivated content in South Asian Film Industry’ and ‘The Future of Music and Lyrics: How important is music in the subcontinental cinema’.
The participant lineup was diverse and includes prominent local and foreign speakers; Sultana Siddiqui, Asim Raza, Anjum Rajabali (celebrated Indian script/screenplay writer), Nandita Das (actor/director/producer of upcoming Indian movie Manto), Harsh Narayan (Indian filmmaker), Sajal Ali, Rashid Khwaja, Abrar Ali Khan, Farees Shah, Faizan Syed, Adnan Sarwar, Sana Tauseef, Atiqa Odho,S. S. Rajamouli (director of the mega blockbuster movie, Baahubali), Vinay Pathak (acclaimed Indian actor), Kamran Jawed, Amin Farooqui, Tahir Moosa, Zeenat Lakhani (writer of Saba Qamar starrer Hindi Medium), Saket Chawdhari (director of Hindi Medium), Nishtha Jain (maker of documentary film Gulabi Gang), Haseena Moin, Jami, Subhash Kapoor (prominent Indian producer, screenplay writer and director, known for his work in Jolly LLB 1 and 2), Vishal Bhardwaj (Indian filmmaker), Hareem Farooq, Izzat Majid, Asif Noorani, Sultan Arshad, Rekha Bhardwaj (Indian playback singer), Dr Omer Adil, Nila Madhab Panda (director of Kadvi Hawa) and Mr Shobu (producer of mega blockbuster movie Baahubali).
There was a total of eight movie premieres – Cake, The Valley, Lala Begum, Moomal Rano, Zaraab, The Song of Scorpions, Kuch Bheege Alfaaz and The Wishing Tree. The Wishing Tree features Shabana Azmi and Zaraab is the first Balochi language film to be premiered in Pakistan. A special matinee show of the newly released animated movie Tick Tock will also be arranged for children at Nueplex Cinemas.
Apart from the premieres, screenings of short films, documentaries and feature films were organised at various institutes throughout the city including Goethe Institut, Iqra Defence Valley, Iqra University North Nazimabad campus, Alliance Françoise and T2F.
At the end of each day there were gala dinners hosted by; Chairprerson Pepsi Cola Sukkur Beverages, Saeeda Leghari; President Hum Television Network, Sultana Siddiqi; and Chairman Nuplex Cinemas, Jamil Baig. Each night was full of who is who of the Pakistan film industry, Bhutto Zardari also attended the dinner by given by Sultana Siddiqi.
The final day of Pakistan International Film Festival was a start-studded evening for its first awards gala ceremony of the four-day festival at Frere Hall, Karachi.
The event started with a speech by Sultana Siddiqui, president of the Karachi Film Society while Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb was also present at the event as the chief guest. The event also featured live performance of Sufi Music Maestro Abida Parveen and a fashion showcase, followed by dinner.
The award were given as follows; Best documentary feature: “Parween Rehman-The Rebel Optimist” directed by Mahera Omer from Pakistan; Best documentary (short): Veil Done from India, Best short film: Aghai Nazem from Iran, Best feature: Lala Begum, directed by Mehreen Jabbar from Pakistan, Best editor: Mitesh Soni (Jannan), Best cinematography: Rana Kamran (Na Maloom Afrad 2), Best debut (female): Hania Amir (Janaan), Best debut (male): Ali Rehman Khan (Janaan), Best writer: Khalil ur Rehman (Punjab Nahi Jaungi), Best music: Sahir Ali Bagga (Arth-The Destination), Best director: Nadeem Baig (Punjab Nahi Jaungi), Best film: Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Best actor (female): Mehwish Hayat (Actor in Law), Best actor (male): Fahad Mustafa (Actor in law).
The recognition awards were given to Dawn Media Group, HUM TV and Jamil Baig of Nueplex for their contributions and efforts in making Pakistan International Film Festival a success. Ali Zafar was honoured with a special award in the category of artist for peace.
The festival was supported by the Cultural Department of Sindh Government and Ministry of Information of the Federal Government of Pakistan, HUM TV, Nueplex Cinemas and Dawn Media Group. Commercial partners for the event were Unilever and Khaadi.