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Pakistani film festival held in Sydney

A Pakistani film festival was held in Sydney, Australia, the other day in which short films made in Pakistan and from Pakistani filmmakers were screened. It was the first film festival of its kind held in Australia, which attracted significant interest and appreciation from the Australian audience, especially the Pakistani community.

According to the Consul General of Pakistan in Sydney Muhammad Ashraf, a total of 19 entries were received forthe competition in the festival out of which nine were shortlisted for the final round. All the nine finalist films were screened on June 26, in the theatre filled to the maximum of COVID-compliant capacity.

Renowned Pakistani producer Shahid Chughtai, Australian film actor Sam Smith and theatre actress and director Reema Gillani were the judges. The best film award was won by Director Kamran Mirza’s film ‘Gift’, whereas Amir Kamrani’s film ‘Sada-e-Madar’ was awarded the best for quality of ‘direction’. The festival was organised by Kalakar Production, a not-for-profit organisation of Pakistani young professionals of performing arts in Australia.

A sizeable number of members of the Pakistani community was present in a local cinema hall in Sydney, while the Consul General of Pakistan Muhammad Ashraf, the famous Australian actor and producer of film Jirga, Sam Smith, and Pakistani legendary actor Ayub Khosa participated through video link.

Speaking on the occasion, Consul General Muhammad Ashraf appreciated the Kalakar Productions for their efforts in organising the Pakistani Film Festival in Australia. Such events are important for showcasing Pakistani art, culture and entertainment in Australia and thereby presenting a soft image of the country, he said. He invited the Australian filmmakers to make films in Pakistan and showcase Pakistani culture. The consulate would provide all out support for production, he said.

Sam Smith, the director of the short film Jirga, recounted his experiences of making his film in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said that he was interested in making films at new locations like Pakistan. He said that with the proliferation of good quality handheld cameras, the short film making had become less technology intensive.

The Festival Director and President of Kalakar Production, Mussawar Chughtai, announced to make the Pakistani Film Festival Australia an annual event. Consul General Muhammad Ashraf announced that the consulate would be available for any support required by the organisers to upscale the film festival to increase its outreach.

Source: The News, PFFA