KARACHI : On January 11, Karachi Film Society (KFS) hosted a press conference to announce the first Pakistani International Film Festival (PiFF), which is set to be held in late March.
The four-day festival, from March 29 to April 1, 2018, will gather established and emerging film-makers and contain a series of workshops and film screenings.
KFS president Sultana Siddiqui and members, such as former Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr Ishrat Hussain, CEO Oxford University Press Ameena Saiyid, writer and producer Javed Jabbar, CEO Habib Metropolitan Bank Sirajuddin Aziz, CEO Nueplex Cinemas Jamil Baig, chairperson Special Olympics Pakistan Ronak Lakhani and Oscar-winning film-maker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy were present at the press conference and talked about PiFF and what it would accomplish for the Pakistani cinema industry.
“Karachi is a diverse city. It’s not only a microcosm of Pakistan; in fact, the word microcosm doesn’t even cover it. It’s a macrocosm of the country. There are elements in life here not found elsewhere, and Karachi will now have the honour of hosting the first Pakistan International Film Festival,” Jabbar began by saying. “The second element is cinema. Unlike still photography, cinema refuses to be a medium of urgency with the distance between the picture and the viewer.” While Karachi was also the base of Kara Film Festival back in early 2000s, Jabbar said PiFF is in no disrespect to that.
Baig said PiFF will breathe new life into the cinema industry. “I believe it will open new opportunities and encourage films of all kinds for people with different tastes.” Whereas, Aziz addressed how this initiative will portray Pakistan in the global community. “We always talk about portraying a softer image of the country. This festival is not going to project a good or bad image of Pakistan. It’s will project the real image of Pakistan.”
Obaid-Chinoy revealed that not only was this the launch of PiFF, but also the parent-body KFS itself. She spoke of KFS as an important initiative to create and support a film fraternity. “It should bring together young film-makers and improve their know-how of the technical side of film-making. It’s also helpful for established film-makers.”
Hussain spoke about how PiFF is a step towards making Pakistani cinema the country’s global identity. “I was in Nigeria once and the room boy thought I was an Indian. He saw me and started singing the Bollywood song Main Awara,” he said, sharing an anecdote. “Nigeria played more Indian films than their own. I mean, look at the penetration of Indian image in a common man’s mind. PiFF is our latest attempt to present our films and art to the world.”
“Gone are the days where children would only think of becoming doctors and engineers,” he continued, talking about the thriving local media industry. Addressing a question from the audience, Jabbar said there was no film market this time around “as there has to be a certain critical mass of films before we can try to connect buyers and sellers.”
Director PiFF Abrarul Hasan explained the schedule of the festival, which will consist of feature length films, documentaries and short films, as well as seminars and workshops on topics such as film as a medium of social change. He also mentioned they have received film submissions from 43 countries, and that more information will be available on the festival’s website after January 31, 2018.
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