The burgeoning talents of Islamabad’s youth were showcased at the Beaconhouse Media Festival on Saturday at its Margalla campus. Over 450 vivacious students inhabited the school’s sprawling premises, anticipating the verdict on their creative endeavors in film and photography.
“We weren’t nearly as creative when we were this young,” shared renowned photographer and judge, Azhar Hafeez, with a laugh as he reviewed diverse landscapes and vivid close-ups on a laptop to score the entries.
For 18-year-old Rashna Hayat, photography is a creative outlet, though not a career pursuit. The A’level student, whose emotive landscapes are shot within the peripheries of her grandparents’ farmhouse, feels that such festivals are a platform for the passionate, whose skills and creativity are challenged and honed through such opportunities.
“There are abundant prospects for the academically-inclined, but the existence of such a creative platform is integral in mainstreaming artistic expression as a career possibility,” she shared, explaining that it is important for young people to explore their desires and push their abilities.
In the front row, Nihal, Fatima and Ayesha were teeming with confidence about their entry: a short advertisement for the fast-food chain McDonalds, encased in social critique.
“It has a sentimental ring to it,” expressed Ayesha, revealing that in the ad, an impoverished child is seen gazing longingly into the restaurant as an indication towards Pakistan’s gaping class differences. However, hope is the driving element of the script, and a young woman nearby notices the child and approaches him, clasping his hand to lead him inside where she gives him food.
“A platform for creativity encourages people to find their interests and to stretch their creative skins,” added 19-year-old Nihal, who is a media student at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).
Such a conscience extended to the narrative of Naufil Rizwan and Nayhal Amjad’s short film, which served to elevate the status of a mother within the bounds of religion.
“We tried to show that despite our character’s malicious disposition, his doting treatment of his mother alone was enough to expunge his sins, eventually allowing him a place in heaven,” explained Naufil, revealing with a hesitant laugh, that the idea for the script came from his aunt.
Moizuddin, Anushe Anwar and Mahnoor Haider bagged the top prize for photography while Nashmia Riaz coveted the prize in filmmaking for her music video, while Ahmed Malik, Ahmed Rauf, Taj Kayani, Zoha Sheikh, Anushe Akhtar, Aman Ahmed Khan, Saood Manzoor, Haseeb Asim were runners up.
Participating schools included NUST, Roots and Westminster, among others. This was the third such festival to be hosted by the school and was organised by a team of commendable young beaconites. The award ceremony was followed with an outdoor carnival and a concert by SYMT and ROXEN later in the evening.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2013.