Daastan’s 25 minutes with Kamran Faiq: From International Film Festivals to Pakistani Cinema

Pakistani cinema continues to remain a subject of interest owing to its unpredictable phases which at times promises hope and at times exude disappointment. In order to have an understanding of what is needed for it to grow and what has to be eradicated to save its name, Daastan held a live session with Kamran Faiq on the 26th of September, 2020. Kamran Faiq’s education in the field of Film and Television and his experience of presenting his directorial works at international festivals renders him a good authority on the topic. Kamran’s experiences both inside and outside Pakistan has helped him develop an understanding of what characterizes good film industries.

In Conversation With Kamran Faiq

Daastan’s conversation with Kamran Faiq also commenced with the same note. Kamran told viewers how presenting and winning multiple times at foreign film festivals, particularly Cinemada Mare enlarged his vision. It helped him meet industry professionals from various corners of the world with innovative stories to tell, making him realize how Art is a universal language which connects people from around the globe. No matter what the language and culture be, art is felt and absorbed beyond these barriers. Inspired from the variety of genres people had to present, Kamran Faiq kick-started his dream project while on one such tour. Titled “Driven” and written and directed by Michael Hudson, this film produced by Kamran Faiq has been made in Pakistan. Kamran awaits its post-production process to be completed.

Art in Pakistan

Kamran Faiq went on to tell how he encountered more or less the same hurdles which all aspirants of Art and Literature in Pakistan come across. He was met with a skeptical attitude towards his future on part of his family members. However, given the leverage by his parents to do what he wished, Kamran proved himself by earnestly working in the field. In no time, he soon recieved best film awards outside Pakistan but also founding DAWN’s film department inside his own country and working in the development phase of the rom-com, “7 Din Mohabbat In”. When asked by Daastan why Art and Literature continue to be looked down upon, the film-maker told that it has been the case for many years. With social media normalizing the presence on screen, the attitudes have changed and will be even better in the coming years.

Daastan also asked the film-maker regarding major problems inherent in Pakistan’s film industry. Kamran responded by telling that casting is done not on merit, but on the basis of social media following which often leads to disastrous results. Production houses continue to show hesitance in spending money, which causes many creative people to lose interest in their novel ideas.

A Possibility of Netflix Coming to Pakistan?

When asked why Netflix doesn’t seem to be investing in Pakistan, he was of the view that India, carrying almost the same culture and consequently the same stories as that of Pakistan, has already become a profitable investing market for Netflix. Owing to which the platform does not feel like investing in a country that has almost similar narratives to tell. He went on to say that international content, be it in the form of web-series or even Turkish serials being accessible to Pakistanis, should never bother local content makers. We should be confident about our own stories and believe in the goodness of our own work.

Kamran Faiq also told that the most difficult thing for a director is to convey their vision to the entire team. However, bent upon carrying his vision forward, he is now working on a docu-drama by the name of “Kuch Yaad Hai”. The docu-drama amalgamates Pakistan’s political history with that of its film history. It will inform as well as entertain with renditions of classical Pakistani songs since the emergence of its film industry till 2019.

The discussion ended by the director saying that for all film industries to grow, the most important thing is innovation. Space needs to be created for all kinds of genres, including stories from the country’s indigenous Literature.

Daastan is making an effort to revolutionize our space for art and artists. Get on board with us today and help us make a change!

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Samin Qureshi
Samin Qureshi is an undergraduate Art student at NCA following her passion for writing through various online avenues. Samin takes a keen interest in empowering women and advocating for their rights. In her free time, Samin loves to cook and listen to old music.

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