The upcoming Lahore International Children’s Film Festival promises to be the largest in its five-year history as the organisers have so far received 700 submissions from Pakistan and abroad.

An inter-school national film competition will be held for the first time in the sixth edition of the festival.

The Little Art, a non-government organisation, has been holding the festival regularly since 2008. Last year, the festival received 450 submissions. However, the organisation is expecting over 1,000 entries this year as 700 submissions have already been received.

Shoaib Iqbal, founder and director of The Little Art, said, “We are certainly more excited and overwhelmed by the response to our call for submissions this year. Hopefully this time around the festival will be bigger and better.”
The organisers invited submissions in March and will continue to accept projects until June 30.

As in previous years, the organisers say the festival has received far more submissions from abroad than from Pakistan. Submissions have come from 40 countries including Britain, Germany, Iran, Japan and China. The highest number of submissions is from the United States. So far, only 10 submissions have come from Pakistan.

“One of the major aims of the festival is to promote upcoming filmmakers in Pakistan,” Iqbal said.

The festival was held in Lahore and Karachi last year with a turnout of around 35,000 people. In 2012, it extended to six cities.
In Lahore, the movies were screened at the Defence Housing Authority Cinema and Alhamra Arts Council. “But even that was not enough. So we extended our screenings from January this year and took them to individual schools,” Iqbal said. Fifteen such events were held last year. Over 15,000 people attended these screenings, he said. This year, the organisers hope to screen the films in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore.

The highlight of this year’s festival will be an inter-school national filmmaking competition. Iqbal said that 20 submissions had been received for it so far. “We want to help children explore films as a new medium of creativity and expression,” he said. The participants from Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi will take part in the competition.

The festival organisers hoped that the Punjab government and the city district government would support them. Iqbal said that the event would be held in October or November this year.

By Aroosa Shaukat

Originally published in The Express Tribune

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