Got a Story to Yell? Then Yell!

Published: 
November 29, 2012
By: 
Nadia Naviwala

USIP’s new Peace Innovations Fund for Pakistan seeks to support creative new efforts for positive social change in Pakistan, as part of the Institute’s broader mission to resolve and prevent conflict using nonviolent means. The first of these efforts – the 60 Second Film Festival – is gearing up to screen its winning films across Pakistan, and the world, this spring.

USIP’s new Peace Innovations Fund for Pakistan seeks to support creative new efforts for positive social change in Pakistan, as part of the Institute’s broader mission to resolve and prevent conflict using nonviolent means. The first of these efforts – the 60 Second Film Festival – is gearing up to screen its winning films across Pakistan, and the world, this spring.

The films have been submitted by youth across Pakistan. They approach the country’s difficult issues – such as growing religious intolerance, child poverty, and frequent power outages -- through a constructive lens. The festival aims to promote a better understanding of the deep-rooted challenges to peace, while capturing and promoting new talent.

Festival Director Abrar Hassan is an innovative, young social entrepreneur who uses mass media to inspire youth to take ownership of Pakistan’s current challenges and help create a brighter future. Through his company, Morango Films, he produces documentaries and public services campaigns that give voice to neglected communities and highlight local heroes.

“Cynicism and despair run deep in Pakistan. We need to remind the next generation that there are many reasons to have pride and hope. This is a first step to working together to address the problems that we all know so well,” Abrar said.

One film adds a “tear” to the the face of Pakistan’s founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, on a thousand-rupee note as it is used for purposes of abuse and corruption. It asks viewers, “Is it too late to make a change?

Another film shows an injured boy, presumably Sunni, receiving first aid from a Shiite, and then stabbing him when the Shiite’s religious identity is revealed. It closes with verses opposing sectarian divisions.

The film festival’s emphasis is on storylines – and being able to tell a story in 60 seconds. So expect some playful plots and creative twists.

According to the festival’s director for communications, Omair Hyder, “Attention spans are getting shorter. Documentaries can be too long to convey a social message. Sixty second films are the format of the future.”

Here are some films we think are worth 60 seconds of your time:

Pakistan, the Land of Terror
Ehsaas
I Fear
The Loop
Poverty

You can view them all at http://60secondfilmfestival.org/

Vote for your favorite films on Facebook or (in Pakistan) by SMSing the short code of your favorites to 9900. If your university or institution would like to host the festival, email contact@60secondfilmfestival.org.

Naviwala is USIP’s country representative in Pakistan.

November 29, 2012
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