From Pakistan, with love -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

From Pakistan, with love

Pakistan Press Foundation

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the upcoming edition of the UK Asian Film Festival (UKAFF) where South Asian cinema, feminist content, storytellers and narratives continue to be the predominant theme, some fantastic artists and films from Pakistan will take centre stage.

The UK Asian Film Festival, known before as Tongues on Fire Asian Woman Film Festival and later London Asian Film Festival, will run in London, Leicester, Manchester and Edinburgh from 14th to 25th March of this year.

The festival will host a special gala presentation of the upcoming Asim Abbasi film Cake, which stars Aamina Sheikh, Sanam Saeed, Adnan Malik and Beo Zafar in principal roles.

The screening of Cake will begin in Bradford (March 17) after which the film will head to Manchester (March 18), Birmingham (March 19) and finally London on March 20 at Prince Charles Cinema. The London screening will be followed by a Q&A session with director Asim Abbasi and the cast of the film. The Bradford, Birmingham and Manchester screenings are “regional advance screenings” which are being co-hosted by UKAFF while the gala screening on March 20 at Prince Charles London is specifically a festival screening.

And since we’re on the subject of Cake, its world premiere is on the 13th of March at Vue West End in Leicester Square, London and (has nothing to do with UKAFF). It is hosted by ZAB Films, one of the production companies behind the film.

As for the rest of UKAFF 2018 edition, the opening gala dinner and awards night will honour female recipients who have pushed and broken boundaries such as broadcaster and Sophia Duleep Singh biographer, Anita Anand; renowned and multi-talented actress and director Meera Syal; and veteran Indian film actress, producer, director and talk show hostess, Simi Garewal.

The festival will also feature an ‘In Conversation with actress Mahira Khan’, who is described on the festival’s website as “Pakistan’s biggest celebrity transcending borders with a global fan base”. They’ve certainly got it right. Apart from this conversation that will take place at May Fair Hotel, London with a ticket price of 100 pounds, Mahira Khan will also be ‘in conversation’ with BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan on March 15 at Phoenix Cinema, Leicester.

And finally, on March 16, Mahira’s last film, the controversial and yet necessary movie of our times, the Shoaib Mansoor-directed Verna, will be screened at Regent Street Cinema in London. The screening will be followed by a Q&A session featuring Mahira as special guest and will be preceded by the screening of the short film, Unsilencing Sabeen. Directed by Anabelle Marshall, Unsilencing Sabeen is about the life and times of the courageous, inspiring social and human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud, who was shot dead in Karachi in 2015. The film will also be screened on March 24 at Filmhouse in Edinburgh, followed by the screening of director Sabiha Sumar’s Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent, in which Sabiha is joined by Indian actor Kalki Koechlin “as they take an inspiring journey through India and Pakistan, uncovering the common humanity beyond the divisive political rhetoric, in an attempt to look at the people beneath the politics”.

Other Pakistani films that will be screened at the festival include Ahmed Arif’s short film, Mailay (Riff-Raff) and Mohammed Naqvi’s Insha’Allah Democracy.

The UK Asian Film Festival 2018 is also celebrating the life and legacy of iconic singer and the voice of the desert, Reshma, with a music concert with Minu Bakshi.

Set to take place on March 18 at Regent Street Cinema in London, the tribute concert titled ‘Remembering Reshma’ will see Urdu poet and folk singer Minu Bakshi performing classics such as ‘Lambi Judai’ , ‘Mast Qalander’, ‘Akhiyaan Nun Rehn De’ and other songs that made Reshma such a force.

Bakshi will be accompanied by Asif Raza, who learned from the likes of SB JHON, Mehdi Hassan, Sohail Rana and Jagjit Singh. He was also crowned winner of the Sa Re Ga Ma International prize in 1998.

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