Slackistan to debut at Cannes

Published: May 12, 2010

The Cannes Film Festival kicks off tomorrow and Slackistan director Hammad Khan hopes he can get the film to more festivals this year. (AFP)

The Cannes Film Festival kicks off tomorrow and Slackistan director Hammad Khan hopes he can get the film to more festivals this year. (AFP) Slackistan focuses on the lives of 20-somethings living in Pakistan’s capital. (PUBLICITY)

KARACHI: From the city that always sleeps, is ‘300 km away from Pakistan’ and the hub for every journalist descending into the country, comes the new slacker film Slackistan.

The trailer for the film debuted late last year and was talked about obsessively amongst what the film’s target audience will be – the bored 20-somethings whose days revolve around idly watching the news and figuring out where their lives are headed. 10 minutes of the film are being shown at the Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off in the French city this week. According to a press release, “The opening reel of Slackistan will screen at the Marche du Film on the May 14 and May 18.” Slackistan’s director Hammad Khan, who is based in the UK, spoke to The Express Tribune before he headed off to Cannes:

How does it feel to be going off to Cannes?

It feels exciting. It feels new, I’ve never done this before. It’s the largest film event in the world – a Disneyland for film lovers. There are thousands of people there… so I’m excited as a filmmaker and a film lover.

What’s happening with the release of Slackistan?

You were busy editing it… Yes, we finished with it only a few weeks ago. Hopefully we will launch the film at a festival; we don’t know which one yet. So I’m excited about that, but more importantly, excited to screen it in Pakistan which should happen sometime after the summer, maybe in September.

Have you received any feedback on Slackistan from focus groups etc?

We screened a rough cut for people initially, and then we showed the final film to a group of industry people in London. They were very excited. The film is about young people from Pakistan who are largely ignored and hidden from the world. And most of them found it enjoyable, sweet and funny, which I’m pleased with because it is very difficult to write humour.

Are there any plans to show it at other film festivals?

That is what we are hoping to experience in Cannes, get in touch with film festivals and spread the word. There are thousands of films, so to be heard and seen and to make a mark is difficult. But we’re definitely planning to show it in Europe, because of the (desi) diaspora being large and spread out there is a market. And in India, it will certainly find an audience amongst the urban market.

Are you concerned about your film being slotted into the same ‘filmmakers defy the Taliban’ stereotype that anything out of Pakistan is?

I’m not too concerned. The film is 100 per cent honest and true to the young people of Islamabad. I just think if people see the film on the face value and with no representation of the political side of things then they won’t stereotype it.

Will you be launching the soundtrack (which features Adil Omar, The Kominas and Mole) before the film?

The soundtrack release will coincide with the film. It is music by young bands and musicians from Pakistan and I am really excited about it, I listen to it every day! Most people who have seen the film (in the UK) have asked whether these bands are from New York or London; they really can’t believe that these bands are from Pakistan.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 12th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Fasih Ali Khan
    May 12, 2010 - 12:35PM

    Looking forward to see this Film. First show on the big screen would be mine. Thank God Pakistanis have started making some films on Concepts rather then Indian Style Tamashas.

    Thanks to Hammad Khan and his team.Recommend

  • RAFIQ
    May 12, 2010 - 7:33PM

    hope to have this movie good one , then why nt at Canne ,, keep it up for good stuff ;;; welll
    wish u best of luck ,,, SlackistanRecommend

  • May 13, 2010 - 4:13PM

    pity it’s so hard to make a documentary about Pakistan that doesn’t display us in a negative light. Maybe something on Edhi would do, but I guess that’s not as marketable. Recommend

  • 7eba
    May 13, 2010 - 4:30PM

    September? Can’t wait! :D
    Wish you all the best!Recommend

  • maryum
    May 14, 2010 - 1:09PM

    so today is 14th May and i am still not able to get any news about this film, why any of our news channel not reporting?? i am waiting for the results Recommend

  • Fahad Naveed
    May 15, 2010 - 10:05AM

    Can’t wait to watch it :D Septembers still far though, but the films probably worth the waitRecommend

  • Aejaz Zahid
    May 15, 2010 - 2:40PM

    From the trailers this film looks like than a desi version of Dawson’s Creek or a rip off of similiar American TV shows. Perhaps that is really what life is like for Islamabad’s posh kids. I wouldn’t know. I guess this is a start and I hope we get to see better and better films representing Pakistan at Cannes in future years. There are so many more interesting stories to tell on celluloid and I hope these recent films will help push the Pak film industry into a new era. Recommend

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