“Unless you see it you are largely unable to relate with the suffering and feel the pain. Through my work, I wanted people to not just know about the pain but also feel it,” says Rehana Latif, a young filmmaker from Quetta, one of the participants of the 6th Lahore International Children’s Film Festival.
Latif whose film Akhri Bazi was screened at the festival has studied film and television at the Beaconhouse National University. She has worked on 10 short films and documentaries. This is the first time she has participated in the festival.
Shot in Quetta, Akhri Bazi tells the tale of a boy and the impact of target killings on people.
Latif says the lack of information has urged her to share stories.
“It is pity that we live in the same country and yet don’t know much about people from other provinces.”
Latif says being a filmmaker she draws a lot of inspiration from her life.
“People are largely unaware about Quetta and the sectarian violence involving Hazaras… video is a strong medium that can help the youth narrate their tales,” she says.
She says the recognition for young filmmakers at the festival is a great incentive.
“What is the use of teaching film and television if there were to be no platforms for young artists?”
As many as 169 films for, by and about children from 45 countries have been screened at the festival. The event also features 24 films produced by Pakistani children. Of these, nine were shortlisted for screening on each of six days of the festival.
“Visual medium is the most effective in terms of capturing the attention of the audience. It helps one tell a story through images,” says Mirzeb Bhatti whose film The Sportsmanship Redemption was screened at the festival.
Bhatti, a student from the Lahore American School, and his four colleagues worked on the film. It revolves around the story of a young basketball player. The three-minute film was shot with a mobile camera.
“There is certainly room for educational institutions to offer an environment that could encourage amateurs to learn more about this medium.”
Youth of Pakistan won the category of Films made by Pakistani Children during the inter-school national film-making competition.
Produced by 16-year-old Haseeb Hashmi, the film is about the challenges faced by the youth in an environment lacking governance.
“Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol had inspired me to make the film,” says Hashmi who had borrowed his brother’s DSLR camera to shoot the film.
Hashmi has directed, shot and edited the film.
Prior to this, the young film-maker had produced a 10-episode drama.
“With technology easily available now, it is much easier for people of my age to give film-making a shot.”
On the other hand, teachers say most of them are still exploring the visual medium.
“Not many schools have facilities, expertise or an inclination to venture in the world of visual arts,” says Faiza Usman who teaches home economics at the Azam Garrison. Her students have produced a film Guriya that is about a couple losing their daughter in a drone attack. Grade 6 and 9 students were part of the team.
“The focus in schools is largely towards academics. What educators need is to focus on such extra-curricular activities.”
Published in The Express Tribune