Best 60-second documentaries screened
KARACHI: They say in a single moment you can live a lifetime. The 60 Second International Film Festival (60SIFF) hopes to bring together films that aim to capture those stories, those lifetimes, and communicate them within a minute.
Although relatively small and humble and compared to the giant that the Karafilm Festival had become back in the day, the 60SIFF is resolutely doing its bit to promote the culture of storytelling through films in Pakistan.
The ceremony which took place at the South End Club included screenings of some of the best documentaries from the festival along with a special showing of Side by Side, a documentary by Christopher Kenneadly.
The documentary follows noted Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves as he speaks to well-known Hollywood directors and film personalities. These include the likes of James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, etc, and they speak about the impact of digital filmmaking in a world where the use of traditional film is diminishing fast.
Hasan Zaidi of the Karafilm Festival and Meher Jaffry, producer of the film ‘Seedlings’ could be seen seated among others at the venue.
The festival’s main guests included American documentary filmmakers Marilyn Agrelo (Mad Hot Ballroom) and Ted Braun (the critically-acclaimed, award-winning Darfur Now) who handed out certificates to the makers of the three best films: Love at first sight, Vicious circle and Pyasa Kawa. Braun and Agrelo were both also presented with honorary shields on behalf of the festival.
“I was enthralled at experiencing the richness and diversity of this country,” said Ted Braun while praising the event. “Its openness to engage itself with others is amazing, I wasn’t expecting that.”
Marilyn Agrelo said: “There are so many different cultures here. I would love to see films on the tribal areas and mysterious things that the West doesn’t really know about. And I think the people who need to make them are Pakistanis.”
“You have to embrace all of humanity and appreciate it,” responded Braun about a question on what it took to be a documentary filmmaker, “You need to know more about yourself and ask yourself why does a certain story moves you? You need to understand your audience and how this medium works in communicating your story to them.”
Also present at the event was Syed Ali Raza Usama, director of the 2013 hit Pakistani film Mein Hun Shahid Afridi. “There needs to be more media education in this country, so that younger people would learn to figure out, firstly what are they trying to communicate and secondly, how to do that. Even if in just 60 seconds,” he said.
Where the films screened showed their potential, they were far from being ‘complete’ in terms of communicating their narrative and stories.