Powerful stories of Pak-US women screened

Documentary narrates uplifting accounts of four women.

Our Correspondent May 09, 2014
The film is scheduled to be screened in other cities. PHOTO: FILE


The documentary – The Pakistan Four – narrating the account of four Pakistani-American women who had embarked on a journey in pursuit of professional and personal goals was screened on Friday.

Screened at the Fulbright Centre, the documentary by Shehzad Hameed, a Fulbright scholar, explores the cultural and social challenges faced by these women as they take on the roles ranging from an award winning chef to a standup comedian.

The documentary had been screened in Shakir Ali Auditorium of the National College of Arts on Thursday.

Apart from narrating the account of Fatima Ali, the winner of the reality cooking show Chopped, the documentary entails the journey of three other women including weightlifter Kulsoom Abdullah.

Abdullah succeeded after campaigning for the right of Muslim women to wear covered sports attire at the US national weightlifting competitions.

Hareem Ahmad, an MIT graduate who left a career in the Wall Street to become an award-winning sabre fighter, and Nadia Manzoor, a standup comedian and actor are also part of the documentary.

Hameed, 29, launched his career in journalism in Karachi. He had graduated from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute in 2013.

According to the filmmaker, his motivation was to highlight the changing narrative regarding the choices Pakistani women were making with regard to their careers. “I wanted to showcase these women because their stories are uplifting and powerful. People need to hear about the amazing things Pakistani women are doing.”

The documentary was shot and produced in the US by Hameed who at the time was on a Fulbright Masters Degree Scholarship to study News and Documentary Filmmaking at the New York University. It had premiered at the New York University Film Festival in 2014 followed by its screenings at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Georgia Institute of Technology.

United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan Executive Director Rita Akhtar commended Hameed’s effort.

She said it was overwhelming to witness how the Pakistani youth is contributing to various spheres of life and to witness how Hameed had highlighted the achievements of accomplished Pakistani women in the US. “We are proud to have been able to send talented young people like Shehzad [Hameed] to great schools in the US through our Fulbright Programme,” she said.

The film is also scheduled to be screened in other cities.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2014.


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