“Indus Blues” Premiere Held at PNCA Islamabad

Source: facebook.com/IndusBluesfilm

The feature documentary “Indus Blues” was finally premiered in Islamabad on June 14. I have had the good fortune of collaborating as a screenwriter and associate producer with director/producer Jawad Sharif and creative producer Arieb Azhar on this project, including many friends and colleagues from FACE including Zeejah Fazli and Mehnaz Parveen, and Asmat Bashir, Asif Ali, and Muhammad Qadeer from Bipolar Films.

All of those team members were there, with the exception of Arieb who is off for a tour to Europe and North America. The main guest who made the event possible was the German Charge d’Affaires Dr. Jens Jokisch, who is also the acting ambassador. He expressed his fondness for Pakistan and its culture and was glad to be the partner for the event. Senator Faisal Javed Khan and PNCA Director of Film Aijaz Gul also attended the event.

Source: facebook.com/IndusBluesfilm

The highlight of the event was the presence of one of the cast members, Boreendo metro Faqeer Zulfikar, who also appears on the poster of the film. He initiated the mood of the film with a couple of folk tunes on Boreendo and Damburi, but it somewhat took away the surprise and the marvel of the discovery of the Boreendo in the film.

I was anticipating a far bigger turnout but the fact remains that the general public does not care as much about the subject as you would like them to. But still, it was good to see people who value folk music and independent cinema turn up in fairly good numbers.

Being a part of the “Indus Blues” team, I would like to thank all friends who came to the event. We would continue to take the message of the film to all corners of the country so the neglected voices of our folk musicians and craftsmen can be highlighted the way they ought to be.

I would like to thank the audiences in Pakistan and around the world. Please keep on supporting Indus Blues.

Feature Documentary Indus Blues Wins Two Major Awards at Jaipur International Film Festival

Source: JIFF

My team’s feature documentary Indus Blues has won arguably its biggest honor yet. The film won “Best Documentary Feature” and “Best Cinematography Award” at the 11th Jaipur International Film Festival earlier this January. The film was screened in the festival on the evening of January 21 at Golcha Cinema in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

The screening of the film was particularly important because of the rich cultural ties of the Merwari musical tradition across the border of India and Pakistan, which the film celebrates in its unique manner. Even though unfortunately none of us could attend the festival but we strongly believed that it would strike a chord with the audience of the festival.

Other than the Best Documentary Feature Award, the film also managed to make a mark in the cinematography category. Usually, documentaries are not really noticed for their cinematography but the brilliant work in this film by Director of Photography Asmat Bashir has turned each frame into a work of art. And of course, the imagery of the film would be incomplete without the aerial cinematography by Muhammad Qadeer.

Source: Bipolar Films/Indus Blues

It was the moment the entire Indus Blues team was anticipating. When the awards for the 11th edition of the festival were finally announced, we knew that it was a big deal. We had won a few other awards as well, but this one was really special not only because it was coming from a great regional festival but especially because it came from across the border. This is truly a recognition of the difference the film has made to independent cinema in Pakistan.

Indus Blues is a 76-minute documentary that narrates the state and plight of the folk musicians and craftsmen of cultures across the Indus in their own voice. Shot in all major geographical and ethnic regions of Pakistan, the film covers 9 musical instruments with an ensemble of both folk musicians and craftsmen. The film is different in the sense that it also features musical craftsmen, a community that has been hardly ever covered by news media, let alone by documentary filmmakers. The film makes you realize that we are about to lose a cultural treasure by showcasing some of its memorable performances featuring fol

Source: Jawad Sharif

I am very glad that the film has received a very positive response and that people appear to have an appetite to enjoy a film about folk music. I strongly believe that the film even has commercial distribution potential but it is unfortunate that film producers in Pakistan usually do not have that kind of leaning. I only hope that Indus Blues finds an avenue where it is able to make a greater impact and becomes reachable to more and more people around the world.

I would like to thank Director and Producer Jawad Sharif and Creative Producer Arieb Azhar, without whose vision the film would not be possible, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this project. I, along with the entire team, sincerely hope that the project goes a long way in promoting awareness about the folk musicians and craftsmen across Pakistan.

The Pakistan premiere of the film is expected very soon too.

 

Indus Blues is finally here

The film that I had worked almost all year now with filmmaker Jawad Sharif has been finally completed. Now, the release of the film is upon us. And tomorrow will see the first public look at the trailer of Indus Blues, which will give us a broader and better idea of how the public will react to the film.

Indus Blues was the idea of director and producer Jawad Sharif, whose approach to documentary filmmaking is truly refreshing among independent filmmakers in Pakistan. The project has been at least three years in the making. I am proud to have been a part of the team and particularly for collaborating with Arieb Azhar, someone who I truly look up to in terms of their contribution to art and culture in Pakistan, apart from being a big fan.

The film features 9 folk musical instruments from various cultures all across Pakistan and features some of the last remaining maestros playing these instruments. These include the likes of Sachu Khan, Faqeer Zulfikar, Mumtaz Ali Sabzal, Zohaib Hassan, and Ejaz Sarhadi among others. The film is different because it not only features musicians but also the craftsmen.

Source: indusbluesfilm.com

We are very proud that the film has already been nominated for two documentary feature awards at two international film festivals. However, more important than such recognition is spreading the word about the struggle of survival of these indigenous musicians and craftsmen. The film is the production of Foundation of Arts, Culture and Education (FACE) and Bipolar Films.

My personal comment on the film is that it is important because it reminds Pakistanis to appreciate the indigenous humanism in the cultures of the Indus, as well as the remarkable cultural, linguistic, ethnic, and religious diversity in Pakistan that is often ignored. Indus Blues also captures some of the most memorable performances of folk artists such as Sachu Khan who is in the twilight of his career and battling heart disease.

Please follow Indus Blues on its social media accounts on facebook, instagram, and twitter. Check out its official website at:

http://www.indusbluesfilm.com

And also, watch out for the official trailer release on Monday, October 1, 2018 at 2000 HRS.

Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures

Stanley Kubrick filming Barry Lyndon in 1975 (Source: Kubrick Estate)

Much has been written and said about the legendary American film director Stanley Kubrick but few records offer us a closer look into his life than Jan Harlan’s documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001).

The documentary covers Stanley Kubrick’s life from childhood to death, featuring rare footage, images and home videos from Kubrick’s infamous “archives”, and more importantly, all his pictures from Day of the Fight (1951) to Eyes Wide Shut (1999). It talks about his personality as well as his work, his aspirations, his fears, his accomplishments, his passion, his disappointments, his style of management and direction, his family, his home and his life, which to many had remained a mystery until his wife Christiane Kubrick and her brother, and the director of the documentary, Jan Harlan, started speaking about him publicly after his death in 1999.

The documentary tells the story of how Kubrick started making pictures, his humble beginnings as a photojournalist, his struggle to make a mark on the global cinema and interesting facts about the making of his pictures, such as how Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) was turned into a comedy, and particularly Spartacus (1960) in which Kubrick had little control as the director due to the influence of the star and the executive producer of the picture, Kirk Douglas, who had also appeared in Kubrick’s widely acclaimed (anti) war drama Paths of Glory (1957).

It is on this documentary that Malcolm McDowell reveals about his friendship with Kubrick that later turned into almost indifference from Kubrick as the filming of A Clockwork Orange (1971) was completed and Shelley Duvall talks about her experience with Kubrick during the filming of The Shining (1980), which was something she “would not want to go through again”.

Apart from McDowell and Duvall, the documentary features interviews from Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Martin ScorseseSydney PollackPeter Ustinov, Jack Nicholson, Arthur C. Clarke, Keir DulleaMatthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, James Earl Jones, Leon Vitali, Christiane Kubrick, Katharina Kubrick, Jan Harlan, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

To commemorate the 83rd birthday of Stanley Kubrick, and the tenth year of the release of A Life in Pictures, nothing is more fitting than revisiting the introduction of the documentary, which is probably the best tribute to Kubrick within a time span of 3 minutes. Fortunately, the documentary is available at youtube.

Poster for Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (Source: Wikipedia)

The documentary starts with a montage of the adjectives printed by the press in the West about Stanley Kubrick and the kind of assumptions that were associated with him such as being a recluse, a megalomaniac, obsessive-compulsive and a perfectionist. Kubrick’s family perfectly explains how little the world know about the man and how incorrect were the labels associated with him by the press.

It is clear that the press made such assumptions about Kubrick because he refused to give any interviews and generally avoided talking to the press, except for the ones he trusted, and to some, they did it plainly out of bitterness. When he was asked to explain his pictures, and he was asked the question a lot for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1965) for its cryptic symbolism, he simply refused to do so by saying that you should let the pictures do the talking.

The documentary is loaded with images from Kubrick’s films, all of them assorted in one collection, which is one of the reasons why the documentary is such a delight to watch. What else has the life of a filmmaker to offer than images, and this is what motion pictures are all about. Maybe I have said this before, but if you want to know how great a film director is, see how easily you can recall the images from his or her films. Kubrick’s films have some of the most iconic, important, historic, unforgettable, memorable and haunting images that you could ever come across from any other director.

The documentary is an absolute treat to watch and a delight for a Kubrick fan, or for anyone who is interested in cinema and in Kubrick’s work. Whether you like his pictures or not, you simply would not be able to deny the fact that Stanley Kubrick’s films were some of the most important cinematic works in the 20th century and his milestone masterpieces set new artistic and technical standards in filmmaking.