Karachi Literature Festival 2023: The Divvy Film Festival

Karachi Literature Festival 2023: The Divvy Film Festival
Now in its third year, Divvy Film Festival, the latest venture of  Foundation Art Divvy focuses on independent Pakistani films and includes feature films, short films, documentaries and animated films.

Each evening was curated carefully to create a thoughtful and immersive experience for the viewer, ending with a discussion with the film directors. The films that were screened cover a multitude of themes that include human stories of love and heartbreak, coming of age, finding oneself, climate change, the trauma of loss, as well as the joy of ordinary and unexpected moments. They tap into experiences and memories within us and highlight the hero within us all.

Baira Garakh by Mehreen Jabbar  was gripping as her films always are and the synopsis without spoilers is that a woman accosts her husband’s girlfriend at their joint home while the wife is supposed to be away on a work trip. The scene is naturally tense but at one point in the film Mehreen manages to evoke laughter in many members of the audience.

Mehreen is an award-winning and critically acclaimed director and producer with an extensive two-decade-long career with 2 feature films, and multiple TV and web series, and shorts to her credit.

Sinf e Taal by Amna Maqbool and Beenish Sarfaraz is a refreshing glimpse into the world of a small music academy where young girls and boys are encouraged and nurtured to pursue the musical arts with a variety of rare folk instruments. At one point the mother of one of the girl students profiled says that music makes her daughters heart happy, so she is also happy as a consequence, and indeed she is beaming with joy. Xhighini is an endangered folk instrument of Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan. Young Asiya is one of the few players of Xhighini. She hopes to preserve and protect the intangible heritage of her land in a community supportive of women for generations to come.

Amna Maqbool is a chartered accountant turned filmmaker from Karachi, Pakistan. She is a partner in a creative agency named O DIMENSION along with her husband. She has worked on various big-scale projects as a producer. Her expertise lies in the area of production planning and management. Her recent works include Coke Studio Pakistan (Season 14) for the “Magical Journeys (Behind the scenes)”. This documentary is her directorial debut and she is keen on learning more about this art of storytelling.

Beenish Sarfaraz is a multimedia artist from Karachi, Pakistan. She works at the intersection of socially-engaged art, cultural and heritage stories, music and well-being. Currently, she is a faculty member at the Film & Design Department at Visual Studies, Karachi University. She also has experience working with Coke Studio (2018), Geo TV Network, Centre of Arts-based Methodologies and Wellbeing, British Council, State Bank Museum Pakistan and Manchester Museum. She is currently working on her craft as a writer/filmmaker to create moving stories.

The Land of My Forefathers by Irfan Noor is a story about the ancient civilization of Balochistan and its archaeological remnants which have sadly been appropriated by various local and international visitors for pennies. The story is told by a young Baloch man who has devoted his life to rehabilitating saving and tracking ancient pottery and the story reminds us that Baloch civilization is seven thousand years old. It is an interesting comparison to what we consider ancient because Egyptian civilization is only four thousand years old and the whole world considers it to be one of the few remarkable ancient civilizations. In part this is due to the preservation of its archaeology and artefacts.

The theft of Baloch artefacts and the fact that most of the public is unaware of the depth and heritage of Baloch history is just one of the many evils inflicted upon this forgotten and land that is blacked out in the education syllabus as well as the media.

The land of my forefathers is an ode to Balochistan although the song is indeed a very sad one.

Irfan Noor K is an independent filmmaker, writer and actor from Gwadar, Balochistan, Pakistan. He has been working in independent films since 2014 and has been a part of various projects as writer, director, producer, assistant director, and actor which include 2018's award-winning short film Sapola, he was part of the film as an actor.

Irfan previously directed a short travel/poetic documentary called A love letter from Balochistan in 2019. In 2020 he directed and produced Army of Immortals, a documentary short film about plastic pollution which has been selected in various film festivals around the world.

Other films also featured included were Night with Noorjehan by Mariam Majid; Dayal Among the Spirits by Syed Muneeb Kazmi; Sea Birds by Saweera Jahan & Puffball Studios; B FOR NAOO by Roofi Kashfi and Ramz by Daniyal Najam.