Pakistan’s most “splendid” film production grant aims to empower women

Pakistan’s most

For the first time ever in the history of the Pakistani entertainment fraternity, a grant worth Rs10 million under “Stories from Southern Pakistan” funding and mentorship program will allow twenty women filmmakers from Pakistan’s Sindh and Balochistan provinces to showcase their prowess and tell their stories in their own works.

The funding of the program comes from the US Consulate in Karachi and is run by Patakha Pictures, and partnered by The Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) public trust, while the former is overlooked by the two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

In a statement released, Patakha Pictures revealed that the selected 20 women filmmakers will work in pairs to produce 10 short documentaries with participants being mentored by UK and US based filmmakers for eight months. Mentors for the program include Noe Mendelle (member of the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, and Director of the Scottish Documentary Institute) and Jesse Ericka Epstein (Sundance Award-Winning documentary filmmaker, and VMA Affiliated Faculty, Emerson College), reported Arab News.

Mahwash Saeed, a single mother and development professional from Balochistan, told Arab News. “As filmmakers, this definitely is the very first initiative taken to promote women filmmakers.”

Saeed holds a degree in film production. With the Patakha Pictures’ grant, Saeed will work alongside Saira Baloch to work on a documentary titled Pehchaan, or Identity.

Zainab Younas and Maryam Tanveer also qualified for the funding, where the former says she is the first YouTuber from Quetta. The duo will be working on a documentary called ‘DOCH, The Art of Balochistan.’

Another grantee is Kainat Thebo from Sindh, who aims to use her documentary, ‘Made With Love,’ to highlight the role of women in folktales from Sindh.

Thebo is also a film and TV graduate from the National College of Arts (NCA). “It is about the role of women, who are main characters in Sindhi folk stories and culture,” Thebo told Arab News.

Consul General Nicole Theriot from the US Consulate in Karachi wishes that the participants use their projects to raise awareness regarding social issues.