Pakistani documentary on small town fairs receives funding from IDFA

KARACHI: Renowned Pakistani film-maker Maheen Zia, has confirmed she will be receiving funding from the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) for her next film, Mela Chaar Dinan Da(Then They Would Be Gone).

“The IDFA have an open call twice a year. We have received a €5,000 grant for project development from them. After that, we will see when it goes into production,” Zia told The Express Tribune. She is also set to pitch the documentary at Locarno Film Festival’s Open Doors Co-Production Lab in August. Her project was one of the 11 selected, out of 250 submitted from over 60 countries. The documentary has been co-directed by Madiha Ejaz.

The documentary, which is about small town fairs, is currently in the research and development stage. “We are still fleshing out the idea and conducting research but it will mainly talk about the travelling entertainment in small towns. We are exploring the topic currently and as we dig into it, we will see how it shapes up the narrative of the documentary.”

Earlier this year, some local documentaries like Besieged in Quetta — which was about Pakistani Hazaras — and Among the Believers – which revolved around the radical Islamic schooling of children – were banned. Whether she thinks her documentary will also get into trouble with the censor board, Zia added, “No, I don’t think my documentary would have any controversial ideas in it. So I’m hoping it doesn’t get in trouble.”

The film-maker is currently working on screening her previous projectLyari Notes in Karachi next month. Its storyline revolves around a musician teaching young girls from Lyari how to express themselves through music.

Published in The Express Tribune

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