Promoting tourism: First Pakistan Mountain Film Festival underway

Event showcases documentaries, photo exhibition and discussions.

Images by artists showing the scenic beauty in the country’s northern areas. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ/EXPRESS


The first Pakistan International Mountain Film Festival started at the Alhamra Art Gallery, The Mall on Saturday.

The Punjab government has organised the festival, in association with the city district government, the Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab, the Parks and Horticulture Authority and Eyebex Films, showcasing documentaries made by international and local filmmakers.

On Saturday, there were panel discussions with travel writers and documentary-makers. A photo exhibition showcasing the work of five adventure and travel photographers was also organised. The photographers were: Atif Saeed, Rizwan Siddique, Hamid Hussain, Shah Zaman Baloch and Kamran Saleem.

The photographs showed mountain ranges in Pakistan. Most visitors liked an image by Saeed, showing snow on barren mountains. The mountains were surrounded by clouds and lit by a single beam of light penetrating the clouds.

Most documentaries, on Himalayan mountains, were filmed by participants from the United States, Russia, Switzerland and Canada.

The Alegria mapped the journey of a Swiss man across the Himalayas. The narrator started his journey from Nepal on a bicycle. The documentary showed the impact of the conflict in Nepal that continued from 1996 to 2006 between by Maoists and government forces. It centred on the general strike in Nepal from May 1, 2010, and the various problems faced by the documentary-maker.

Another documentary, Life Lines, showed the struggle of Makar Singh, living in a small mountain village in India, trying to reconcile his small means and his ambitious dreams.

Talking To The Air showed the growing pressure on a small community in Mastung due to infrastructure development. The documentary discussed how horses were an essential factor in the local way-of-life. However, they had been replaced by motor vehicles after the construction of a major highway in the area. The community faced immense pressure to balance the continuation of its traditions with economic growth.

The panel discussions featured Shahid Zaidi, adventurer, photographer and filmmaker, who talked about his passion for travelling and the various experiences he had had during his journeys. Salman Rashid, a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, was a panellist at another session. He talked about why people love to travel.

He talked about how he had started travelling. He said that he had travelled through Balochistan during the 1980s. “Despite being warned by some friends, I did not feel insecure there at that time,” he said.

Another panel discussion with Samina Peerzada, Hassan Armaghan and Faisal Rehman discussed the resurgence of cinema in Pakistan.

The festival will continue on Sunday. An award ceremony will follow.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2015.


Mohammad | 6 years ago | Reply this film festival is not going to work for tourism unless you do the following: Improve Infrastructure in Northern Areas Provide good transpiration & direct flights to visitors from all over Pakistan/Airports Safety and Security Empower locals by building hotels, rest houses with proper training to maintain and norms of hospitality, handover it to them on lease and ask to earn and share Promote local traditions and cultures, festivals and fairs Install Tourism Police and nation wide helpline to curb security and fraudulent issues Install rescue units, police patrols rebrand National tourism by recreating websites, info graphics, advertising on international forums strict compliance to international norms of tourism and make every effort to pacify tourists in case of any mishap Make it tax free for next 10-15 years and award excellence to best performing agents encourage families, provide them A-Z packages with guided tours Provide non hallal stuff to non Muslims tourists without any fear or threat of Mullahs (do a favor and let Christian & Hindu Pakistan brothers install the restaurants and bars) Send your parliamentarians at least once in a year to these places to observe and report, and advertise that prominent dignitaries having holidays like normal people. and make 4x4 & luxury vehicles tax and duty free in hilly/rough terrain areas for each establishment owning minimum 10 vehicles but do not let them get out to other parts of country for next 5-10 years. Promote Education.. install universities, colleges, research centers and invite students all over the world, Pakistan. Promote Local crops (fruits and perishable goods mainly) to reach local and international markets But you will not do this... you won't let beautiful areas and those people to progress. if you can't do the above, bid and rent it out to Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway for next 50 years (like Hong Kong) and do not interfere.
Hammad | 6 years ago | Reply Allah has blessed Pakistan with beautiful sceneries all around, with some highest peaks of the world. We should promote it to attract tourists and revive tourism in Pakistan. Good move.
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