There are many Pakistani film and documentary makers who are given the opportunity to showcase their work overseas. They have made waves on the global front and conquered international waters with their stellar offerings, successfully putting the entertainment industry on the world map. The latest to make Pakistan proud is legendary actor Sakina Samo. Taking the leap into direction for the first time ever, her debut film will be premiered at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York. Sharing the news on Twitter, Samo wrote, “Our Intezaar will have its world premiere at the Harlem International Film Festival in New York.” As she enjoys her ascent to glory, here is a list of Pakistani artists whose films have headed abroad over the years and won hearts world over.
- Durj – Shamoon Abbasi
The actor-director made headlines when news about Durj being the first feature film to be screened at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival made the rounds. The dark and intense movie explores the untapped genre of cannibalism. While there were many who frowned upon his choice, others lauded him for bringing the terrifying reality surrounding such a grave subject to the table. Besides Abbasi, Durj stars Sherry Shah, Myra Khan, Nouman Javaid and Majid Khan in titular roles.
- Mey Rahungi – Shamoon Abbasi
Durj is not the only one of Abbasi’s films to have reached the international audience. His project Mey Rahungi won four awards at the Virginia’s Crossover Film Fest back in 2018. The film is based on women empowerment and was lauded for not being a typical masala film. Instead, it focuses on real-life issues, depicting the strength of a fierce and independent woman in a purely male-driven society. It features Sherry Shah in the lead. Abbasi’s direction was worth a special mention too!
- Cake – Asim Abbasi
The filmmaker is all the rage of late following the release of his web show Churails. Always one to think out of the box, Abbasi’s first feature film Cake was undoubtedly a visual treat. The 2018 project first premiered at the Leicester Square in London before hitting theatres in Pakistan. Soon after, Abbasi’s venture bagged him the Best Director award at the UK Asian Film Festival, where the film was screened to. It stars actors Sanam Saeed, Aamina Sheikh, Adnan Malik and Faris Shahid among others. A full-fledged family film, Cake centres on the life of estranged family members who reconnect in an effort to deal with the care of their aging parents. A must-watch! The film also enjoyed a screening in New York.
- Load Wedding – Nabeel Qureshi
When filmmaker Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza come together for a project, it is always anticipated to be a rocking one! Load Wedding, comprising a star-studded cast of actors Mehwish Hayat, Fahad Mustafa, Faiza Hasan and Samina Ahmed, was nothing less than a delight. A social satire, the film centred on the theme of marriage. It was screened at one of the most prestigious platforms of India, the Jaipur International Film Festival (JiFF) in January 2019. The same month, it was also the official selection at the 5th Rajasthan International Film Festival (RIFF).
- Bench – Usman Mukhtar
The dynamic duo of Mukhtar and Rubya Chaudhry were soaring high on the success of their short film Bench until another great news knocked at their door. Following months of hard work, their project won big at the South Shore Film Festival in New York, in July 2020. While speaking to various media outlets, Mukhtar clarified that due to Covid-19, Bench was not screened in New York but the decision was made by the judges after watching it online. The film was also submitted to a lot of film fests, Toronto Film Fest, Cannes and Busan to name a few.