The National Amateur Short Film Festival had its first award ceremony on the 26th of June. Funded and launched by the ISPR the NASFF Awards were the first of its kind and focused on enabling creative students to re-imagine Pakistan. One of its main aims was to highlight the positive and soft image of Pakistan to the rest of the world.
NASFF 2021 – Themes, Objectives and Criteria
NASFF was created to tap into the abundant creativity that this country boasts and to provide students with an immersive experience to showcase their ingenuity. The themes for 2021 included: The colours of Pakistan, The Indus identity, Pakistan a cultural melting pot, Empowerment through SMEs, Philanthropy in Pakistan and Value addition in Agri-products of Pakistan.
It was a requirement that the works entered in the competition must be original and could be any of the following genres: fiction, documentary, animation and experimental films. The maximum duration for the short film was up to twelve minutes, whereas Experimental Films are exempted from this time limitation.
A few key objectives of NASFF were to align the perceptions of Pakistan with its reality and portray it through social media to the rest of the world and introduce Pakistan as something other than “a country plagued by corruption and terrorism”, provide a platform for amateur filmmakers by introducing a special category for ‘Best Mobile Phone Film’ and to seek out talent through a very comprehensive shortlisting process. Moreover, NASFF also conducted workshops with the participants so they could learn from experts about the existing and future trends of Web production. Lastly, it provided Pakistani filmmakers with the opportunity to learn how to strategically pursue value addition in film-making.
The Top Contestants From Pakistan
The NASFF Grand Jury comprised of 5 to 7 members from the Media Academia / Industry and they selected 3 films out of 10 short-listed films for each theme submitted by the Preliminary Jury. Hence, the 18 chosen finalist films competed for the top positions. Apart from getting international and national recognition and enhancing their pre-existing skillset, a lucky few were also awarded full scholarships to study in some of the top film schools in the world!
Dedahwar ( دیدہ ور) by Yawar Shah (Undergraduate Film Category 1st Position)
A short film dedicated to his mother, Yawar Shah and his team effortlessly encapsulates the efforts of one woman and her goal to educate the children in Pakistan. Dr Farah Deeba Akram, who is a PhD in Gender and Literature and the founder of Aalam Bibi Trust chronicles her journey and experiences in ‘Dedahwar’, on what led her towards this noble cause – teaching the children of blue-collar parents and enriching their minds. Peppered with a breathtaking soundtrack and with clips of children singing poems in class, the short film highlights the importance of giving back to the community and reaping its rewards tenfold.
The Disgustful by Waleed Akram (Special Film Category 1st Position)
‘The Disgustful’ highlights the national service sanitation and waste workers perform in Pakistan. These people commonly referred to as jamadars in Pakistan, help keep this country clean and running and that too for less than minimum wage! However, public perception towards them is less than ideal. These humans that risk their health and safety for us are often marginalised in society for the disgusting job they do. However, their resilience and dedication towards their profession is inspiring and it’s time we start respecting them and giving them the recognition and benefits they deserve! Lastly, my favourite part about this short film was the beautiful aerial shots that help weave the narrative perfectly.
The Drought Fighter by Naseer Ahmed (Mobile Film Category, 1st Position)
Even though ‘The Drought Fighter’ hasn’t been uploaded to the NASFF YouTube page yet, we can only imagine it must’ve chronicled the droughts (and famines) in Pakistan and how inhabitants cope with the scorching heat and scarcity of water and food. Malnutrition is a major issue that needs to be highlighted in Pakistan and we’re glad it’s being brought up.
A Tradition For The Future
Eman Munir and her teammates Farwa Mohsin, Rida Zehra, Inara Talat and Maliha Aamir won 5th position in the undergraduate film category for their short film, ‘Bangles: The Coloured Wheels of Pakistan’. This is what Eman had to say about her experience participating in NASFF’21 and what she hopes the competition will achieve in the future:
‘Bangles’ takes us on the rigorous journey of bangle making in Hyderabad. It chronicles the journey of the traditional bangle from raw recycled glass in brick kilns to bejewelled ornamental pieces for sale in the shops. Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in poverty alleviation within Pakistan and employ a large number of women. This short film did an excellent job of breaking down the entire process for the audience. Moreover, it was surprising to witness the amount of dexterity involved in bangle making. Next time you wear bangles on Eid or at a Shaadi you’ll know the amount of work that went into it!
We at FUCHSIA hope that efforts like these continue and we are able to magnify Pakistani talent internationally. Through these concentrated efforts we are creating a safe space for the next generation of Pakistani creatives to explore their potential and hone it to perfection. Here’s to more future successes!