America’s leading broadcaster SoundView Broadcasting, in collaboration with consulting firm Green Card Capital, announced the launch of its first annual Heroes of Pakistan Short Film Competition in September 1, 2013. Over 150 short films were submitted and the winners were finally declared at a prize distribution ceremony, held at the Karachi Press Club, Tuesday afternoon.
While addressing the guests and distributing the awards, Chief Operating Officer of Green Card Capital Abbas Hashmi asserted, “The winning films opted to pick out a unique hero from the filmmakers lives, these people were from the ordinary walk of life, who made great efforts to achieve little for themselves and gave away much more to society in general.” Hashmi, a Pakistani based in New York, chose to launch this initiative a while back, keeping the angle of mentorship as a priority.
Hashmi added, “There is a lot of talent in Pakistan; however, a platform needs to be given to the youth of Pakistan to shine. These filmmakers had special heroes — everyday heroes — who held their hands in affection, not hoping for applause or a reward, but in giving away a part of themselves, selflessly.”
According to Hashmi, all the videos were brilliant. Alhough the judges initially planned on awarding only the three best short films, a fourth award was announced for a film based on Abdul Sattar Edhi, keeping in mind people’s admiration for the film and the services rendered by him.
The panel of judges included some renowned names from Pakistan’s filmmaking industry, namely Mehreen Jabbar, Bilal Lashari, Shahzad Nawaz, Iram Parveen Bilal and Mumtaz Hussain, among others.
The fourth prize of US $100 went to Umar Tariq’s film, based on the life of Abdul Sattar Edhi, titled The Philanthropist. This short film threw light on the life of a man who has worked relentlessly for the welfare of Pakistan. It showed his entire journey and how it all started for him.
The third prize went to a film titled Life in the Dark by Sana Nasir. Nasir was awarded a certificate along with US $250. The film was based on the life of a blind teacher Dr Sabir Michael of University of Karachi. The teacher shone in the limelight through the sincere words of his students.
The second prize went to a young film-maker Mohammad Ali’s film, titled Guddu. It was on the life of a man, who has spent his entire life collecting material related to Lollywood films. People spoke of his credibility as a walking-talking encyclopedia on films; his eagerness to preserve a now almost dead heritage was commendable. Ali was awarded a certificate and US $500.
The first prize was awarded to Baadbaan, a film by Danish Hashmi. Like Sana Nasir’s, Life in the Dark, this film too was based on the teaching ethics of Dr Sabir Michael. The teacher in this particular film highlighted mostly himself, by revealing how he educates his students, by coming down to their level of understanding and teaching them the basics in the best demeanor possible. Hashmi was awarded a certificate and US $1,000. Other than that, he will get a chance to work with Abbas Hashmi on two other similar projects.
Though Sabir Michael achievements are undoubtedly exceptional, one wonders why two films with the same subject made it to the top four, considering how there were over 150 entries from across Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2014.