One of its kind, the film festival witnessed industry’s biggies gathering at an international platform.
  • 21 Jul - 27 Jul, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Spotlight

The second edition of Pakistan Film Festival took place in New York amidst much glam and paparazzi. Audience were keen to get a glimpse of their favourite celebrities who had arrived in the Big Apple for celebrating the country’s current crop of talent. The stars were received in the American city by Maleeha Lodhi – Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN.

Ambassador Lodhi was ecstatic to welcome the talented entertainers and said that the films screened during the two-day event conveyed the country’s energy and dynamism.

“We have organised our film festival to both acknowledge the remarkable revival of Pakistan’s cinema and to showcase and celebrate it,” said the Pakistani envoy while addressing a large and enthusiastic audience in Asia Society’s spacious hall.

Popular celebrities including Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Aamina Sheikh, Ayesha Omar, Mikaal Zulfikar and documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy attended the glitzy affair alongside renowned film directors Asim Abbasi and Nadeem Baig, who were basking in the glory of their celebrated films Cake and Punjab Nahi Jaungi (PNJ), respectively.

On the first day of the festival films like 7 Din Mohabbat In, Parchi, Verna and Cake were screened, leaving houses packed with spectators; while on the second day movies such as PNJ, Lala Begum and Na Band Na Baraati received their screenings.

The two time Oscar winner Sharmeen participated for the festival’s unique segment titled ‘Beyond the Oscars’, wherein she discussed her present and future projects in filmmaking and also the challenges filmmakers encounter in Pakistan’s film industry. The programme was conducted by Rachel Cooper, Director for Global Performing Arts and Special Cultural initiatives. In the first edition of the film festival, her animated flick,

3 Bahadur, was screened and received much praise among viewers in New York.

Ambassador Lodhi kick-started the festival in the presence of an excited roaring crowd, as she welcomed all the top stars on stage. She profusely thanked all of them for having made it from their busy schedules to New York for the occasion and paid tributes to all of the celebrities for playing a significant role in reviving the country’s film industry that was all but dormant almost a decade earlier. “You did Pakistan proud,” Lodhi said, as the hall profusely echoed with cheers and lauds.

Speaking on the occasion Lodhi said, “This revival has been spearheaded by a new wave of young filmmakers and actors; they have produced a devise array of movies that have been pushing the boundaries and charting and breaking new ground by tackling bold themes and using digital technology.” The diplomat was rather hopeful that the festival will add to the process of helping the cinema renew its past glory and this particular celebration taking place on a foreign land will “convey the energy, dynamism and optimism that define today’s Pakistan.”

The celebratory film festival also included Zeb Bangash’s melodic performance which she gave along with her band Sandaraa on the final day. As part of the first generation of musicians in Pakistan, Zeb has successfully managed to make it not just in her home country but also internationally.

The two-day grand affair included a reception at the United Nations hosted by Ambassador Lodhi where UN officials, ambassadors and media representatives accredited to the UN, as well as prominent members of the Pakistani community in NY were also in attendance. The dissemination of the vibrant Pakistani culture and social events uprooted in the US exuded a soft image of the country otherwise known to be pretty volatile.

Considering the immense hard work, famous actor Mikaal Zulfikar thanked the Pakistani mission for having held the festival as part of the efforts to promote cultural diplomacy and to project the country’s soft power. The exuberant event ended on a high note, leaving attendees mesmerised among a host of shining stars.