KARACHI: Pakistani film-maker Iram Parveen Bilal is currently at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival with her upcoming project Wakhri. She has made it to the list of 15 directors for Cinefondation’s Atelier programme at the festival.
In its 15th year, Cinefondation’s Atelier brings together film-makers with promising projects to Cannes. The idea of the programme is to provide access to international co-productions circuit and opportunities for international financing for a speedy completion of the films.
In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune, Bilal shared her experience of attending one of the biggest international film fests.
‘The Express Tribune (ET)’: Is this your first time at Cannes?
Iram Parveen Bilal (IPB): Yes, first time in Cannes because I have a personal rule to only go to a festival if my work takes me there. This is the first feature project in the 72-year history of Pakistan, so it is an honour. Just our presence here has been such a privilege for ourselves as we are walking-talking flags for the country. I decided to wear Pakistani designers at the various galas and dinners, to represent my country better.
ET: How has your experience been?
IPB: Cannes has everyone important from the film industries in the world present here. The opportunities are limitless but time and energy are of limit. So prioritising who to meet and when has been challenging but also exhilarating to just see the possibilities. We have meetings all day and then networking parties at night. If you’re lucky, you squeeze a film screening in there.
I was asked to be on a panel on storytellers the first day I was here. It was such a great feeling to talk to emerging film-makers and share the lessons we have learned along the way. Also, speaking at Cannes is in itself an honour.
ET: Tell us a bit about Cannes L’atelier and your film?
IPB: L’atelier is Cannes official artist development arm, Cinefondation’s program. They curate 15 directors from all over the world to invite for an accelerated financing program that takes place over the course of a week at Cannes. This is their 15th year. Their financing and release success is 93% so we have our fingers and toes crossed.
ET: Who are the other directors with you?
IPB: There are 14 other directors but only one other director from South Asia. He is from Nepal and his name is Fidel Devkota.
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