The Vasakh Film Festival is set to make a comeback with its ninth edition, starting April 29. The two-day event will feature as many as 14 short films made by both local and international film-makers.
While film-makers from as far as Latvia, Iraq, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Indonesia will be arriving for the event at Ferozpur Road’s Ali Auditorium, the highlight of the festival will be Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Oscar-winning documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. The film that revolves around the subject of honour killing will be screened on the first day of the event.
Other film-makers have also focused their work on societal taboos such as transgender rights, sexuality etc. Talking to The Express Tribune, festival founder and Interactive Resource Centre Director Mohammad Waseem said the purpose of the event is to provide a platform for critical dialogue. “Through this festival we hope to achieve two objectives. Firstly, we want to create awareness amongst the urban youth regarding human rights and social issues through the medium of film,” he said, adding, “Secondly, we want to provide exposure to local documentary film-makers so that they can learn from the works of international film-makers.”
Deeming the festival as a highly interactive one, Mohammad mentioned he hopes to reach out to more youngsters by putting together a bigger event every year. “We want to promote a discourse that can make a difference. Vasakh is all about creating a safe space for individuals to express themselves.”
Concurring with Mohammad, festival director Risham Waseem shared similar thoughts, stating this time around their team has been working towards increasing the number of quality films shown at the event. “This year we are showing a special documentary called Waria. It has been made by an Indonesian student, Nisar Ahmad, and is surely amongst the best ones we have on offer.”
Shedding light on the storyline, Risham said it unravels the issue of discrimination faced by transgender persons in different countries; the issues of the ‘hijras’ of Pakistan, India and Nepal and the ‘kathoeys’ in Thailand. “Most societies discriminate against these people who find it difficult to ﬁnish school, ﬁnd a job or even gain access to public health services.”
According to her, another documentary on the list is Fragile, directed by a Malaysian student Bebbra Mailin. “The film follows the life of an Indonesian family living in Sabah, Malaysia. It is told from the perspective of a child, Nirwana, who holds on to the dream of becoming a singer despite family struggles.” She added, “Besides this, a lot of other great films made by students and professionals will also be shown at the festival.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2016.
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