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.