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It’s about time that we encourage and empower Pakistani women to shine at the forefront and narrate indigenous stories that represent Pakistan in its truest essence. Patakha Pictures in partnership with Scottish Documentary Institute and the British Council, has taken the first step in the right direction with the announcement of 10 grantees for its first funding and mentorship programme, Pakistan Stories.

Helmed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy of SOC Films, Patakha Pictures was launched to support a new generation of female Pakistani documentary filmmakers. Its first national funding and mentorship programme — Pakistan Stories — aims to celebrate 75 years of Pakistan through the female gaze.

As part of this programme, the 10 shortlisted women filmmakers will work in pairs, over a period of 12 weeks, to develop their creative skills and create 5 short films.

“When we sifted through the applications we realized that there are so many young women in Pakistan who aspire to tell stories about their communities and that it is imperative that we provide them with the right tools to achieve their dreams. Today, I hope we are taking a small step towards that,” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy in a press statement.

She also took to Instagram and announced the first class of grantees for #PakistanStories.

Pakistan Stories received an overwhelming number of submissions from female documentary filmmakers across the country, out of which the following pairs of applicants were chosen from different regions of Pakistan to be a part of this initiative:

Names of Applicants Project Title
Amna Maqbool and Beenish Sarfaraz Sinf-e-Taal
Ahmen Khawaja and Mariam Khan One By One
Seema Iqbal and Sehrish Kanwal Disability Can’t Stop Education
Farzeen Aziz and Bushra Pervaiz Haqeer
Fatima Syed and Areeba Naveed Sazish: A Feminist’s Struggle


Read: Patakha Pictures launches first funding & mentorship programme to empower Pakistani women filmmakers

The aforementioned talented film-makers will explore documentary creativity for the international short film festival market. This practice-led workshop in documentary will allow them to:

  • Develop an understanding of creative documentary for local and international festivals
  • Develop and finance an idea into a short creative film
  • Work with characters, sound and visuals dramatically and emotionally
  • Produce a 10’ documentary ready for national and international distribution
  • Network with other filmmakers from different regions across Pakistan and internationally

The workshop will be made up of a mixture of seminars and consultant-led advice sessions by experts from Scotland and Pakistan. The film lab will be delivered online through Zoom and other online tools accessible to these participants, followed by a gathering for an intensive week in Karachi to finalize the edit of the films and a screening in Islamabad for a wider audience.

“Scottish Documentary Institute is delighted with the selection of the ten upcoming female talent for our new scheme Pakistan Stories. The collaboration with Patakha Pictures is conducive to the perfect creative environment for our participants to bloom as documentary filmmakers and tackle challenging stories that will reflect contemporary Pakistan through the female gaze,” said Noé Mendelle, Director of Scottish Documentary Institute.


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