While the film has not even begun circulating in Pakistan, where its story is based, Heal — a thesis production from Mian Adnan Ahmad — has already bagged 19 awards including prestigious awards like the Frank Capra and ‘Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Film’ award at this year’s Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF).
The film elicited widespread acclaim from film critic Eric Vespe. “It is an incredible shot and it’s not preachy with the subject matter either. In some shots, you see political commentary garbed in sci-fi, horror and comedy to convey a message. That really impressed me apart from the amazing production value, the great performances and the very interesting story,” said Vespe.
Also, quite uniquely, the film touches upon the supernatural — an aspect that can often go awry, yet Heal managed to win in the category for Science Fiction/Fantasy. “When I was writing the screenplay for the film I wanted to put in a character with special abilities but also wanted to tell a story from this region,” said Ahmad. “Growing up, I have always been a fan of this genre; the amazing characters and stories that come from this world, for me they represent a fantastic way to reflect on reality and issues dealt with in our societies. So as a film-maker it’s really cool that our film, which tells a story set in the Pakistan and Afghanistan region, has not only screened there, but also won and we really appreciate this recognition by the festival’s jury.”
Interestingly, the film’s crew hails from Finland, Spain, India and the US, despite Heal dealing with a rather sensitive subject of the current socio-political region — a topic that has the possibility of causing serious friction any amongst the crew. “We didn’t want people to forget the story and get sidetracked towards who is responsible,” Ahmed pointed out. “Heal is a film about the people being affected by whatever is going on. And if you notice most of our awards are from the US,” adds Ahmad to dispel the notion that his film may have any political leanings or judgements.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2011.
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