The recent revival of cinema in Pakistan has generated excitement and captured the imagination. Film, like the nation-state, stands at a crossroads, and is invested with hope and aspirations towards a future that leaves the seemingly unending violence and militancy of the past decades receding into the distance. The magical qualities of film with its capacity to orchestrate our emotions and sensibilities, to conjure up fictions that become part of our reality, to transform the mundane into the extraordinary symbolizes this collective yearning for a new dawn. A new generation of filmmakers ranging from the conventional to the experimental are exploring the possibilities of re-imagining family, friendship, love, the nation, and retelling ways of injustice and suffering. Love, War and Other Longings is an invitation to come and participate in these new narrations, to explore their possibilities and examine their implications. What kind of future is envisaged and what representations of the past does it require? What is being celebrated and who is being left out?
Last year the festival was held at Brown University in Providence and focused on the range of feature films from horror flicks to comedies and nationalist war films. The conversations generated between filmmakers, scholars and the audience raised various issues, some of which were on the representations of gender; the emergent nationalist war film; the treatment of religion and questions of class and marginality amongst others. The continued relevance of these issues in current film productions led to the planning of this second festival in which we have expanded our repertoire to include documentaries on LGBT communities and survivors of drone strikes, as well as shorts and video art.
This year in bringing film-makers, academics, activists and members of the public together we seek to further the discussion in order to expand the range of film-making in Pakistan and to interrogate the relation of cinematic form to the politics and aspirations of the past, present and future. We intend that the dialogue and debate will enable us to think of ways to support this nascent cultural industry, to expand our empathy, and to stimulate our politics.
On the afternoon of Saturday, October 17th the festival will focus on conversations of filmmaking and activism through documentaries, as well as, Q & A with directors.
Find below a few highlights of the film festival:
Saturday, Oct 17th 12:15pm
K-2 and the Invisible Footmen
Director: Iara Lee
In K2 AND THE INVISIBLE FOOTMEN, Cultures of Resistance filmmaker Lara Lee and her team chronicle the lives of those who make possible ascents of the world's tallest mountains, including both Pakistani porters and Nepalese sherpas. The film also follows the first official all-Pakistani climbing team, made up of former porters. This team successfully summited in 2014, on the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain. Amid breathtaking scenery, the film depicts the everyday sacrifices of porters and the courage of those indigenous climbers who choose to return to scale K2 in spite of past tragedies.
Saturday, Oct 17th 11;30am-1:00pm
Guerrilla Filmmaking with LGBT activist Saad Khan
Saturday, Oct 17th 3:30pm
Media Insurgents: Margins, Histories & Activism
Panelists: Saad Khan, Madiha Tahir, Beena Sarwar
Moderator: Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Raqs Media Collective