Seemab Gul’s short film Mulaqat qualifies for an Oscar after it was listed among the top three award-winning films at the Oscar-qualifying film festival, HollyShorts! Scroll down to for more details!
Written, directed and co-produced by Seemab Gul, the twenty-minute short film stars Parizae Fatima, Hamza Mushtaq, Ayesha Shoaib Ahmed, Nabila Khan, Aun Ali Saleem, Masuma Halai Khwaja, and Qasim Ali. ‘Mulaqat’ revolves around a teenage girl named Zara whose life upends after she shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend. The latter begins to blackmail her into meeting him in person. “Will Zara give in to this stranger’s increasing demands or will she set herself free?” questions the teaser.
According to one of the producers of the short film, ‘Mulaqat’ world premiered at La Biennale di Venezia in September 2021 and has since premiered and continues to be screened at the most prestigious film festivals around the world including The Sundance Institute where it was one of the 59 short films for the 2022 program selected from an all-time-high 10,374 submissions.
The film won 3 awards including Best Film, Best Director for Seemab Gul , and Best Cinematographer for Alberto Balázs and a Special Mention Ischia Film Festival in 2022. The film has also been acquired by The New Yorker Magazine for their screening Room.
According to Dawn Images, HollyShorts is an Oscar-qualifying festival for short-film categories, and the winners of these three awards are automatically entered into the Oscar race. Hallelujah won the Grand Prix for the festival’s best short, Sandstorm (Mulaqat) took the honour as the best live-action short and Scale won for animation.
The co-producer of the film, shared the news on his Instagram.
The inspiration behind the short film, according to The New Yorker is, an incident which unfolded back in 2009 where Ghadeer Ahmed, an Egyptian teenager recorded a video of herself dancing in a short dress at her friend’s house, the kind of thing girls would do in private, behind closed doors,” noted a piece in The New Yorker in May. “She shared the video and some photographs with her boyfriend. Three years later, after they had broken up, he started sending her threats. If she didn’t get back together with him, he’d post the video and photos online.
Seemab Gul shared her own view on the short film.
Watch The Teaser Here:
‘Sandstorm/Mulaqat’ has been produced by Gul and Merchant in collaboration with Sanat Initiative and Instinct Productions. Starring Hamza Mushtaq, Parizae Fatima, Ayesha Shoaib Ahmed and Nabila Khan.