Documentaries based on the lives of slain T2F founder Sabeen Mahmud and trained classical dancer and women rights activist Sheema Kermani won big at the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal.
Meanwhile, Indus Blues, another documentary on Pakistan’s folk music claimed the Jury award for Best Documentary Feature.
After Sabeen’s Director Schokofeh Kamiz followed Sabeen’s mother and friends to record not only her accounts and memories, but also to create a portrait of the woman the German director did not know.
The short documentary won the Director’s Choice Award at the film festival.
Kamiz recounted the first time she heard about Sabeen. “My friend Omar and I wanted to have coffee on a Saturday, but he didn’t show up,” she said. “He called me and told me that a friend of his was shot dead in Karachi. I went with my friends to Omar’s home. And we all talked for hours about Sabeen and during this conversation, my fascination with her grew,” Kamiz narrated to SAMAA Digital.
Filmmaker Jawad Sharif’s Indus Blues shows the unique performances of the rarely seen musical instruments used in folk music. Some of these performances feature the last remaining maestros playing their respective instruments.
In the short documentary, folk artists talk about their struggle to keep the waning art form alive in Pakistan.
With Bells On Her Feet
Winner of the Jury Award for Best Short Documentary, Bells On Her Feet is based on Kermani’s life and how practiced her art in the face of strong opposition from the religiously conservative segment in Pakistan.
In the film, Kermani says that for her there is a direct relation between dance and liberation. “When a woman stands on stage to dance, what she’s saying is, here I am; I am not ashamed of my body. I am confident and I do not fear you.”
The documentary was directed, filmed and edited by Taimur Rahim.