The writer was part of a press briefing that announced the ARY Film Festival
The writer was part of a press briefing that announced the ARY Film Festival

"Pakistan has talented film-makers but they need to understand that a quality script works as the backbone of a film," said eminent writer Anwar Maqsood at a press briefing organised on Wednesday to announce the ARY Film Festival.

He added, "We are lacking in that department. Film-makers should work hard on scripts."

Mr Maqsood, who is also a member of the jury constituted for the festival, told journalists he has seen quite a few films selected for the event. They’re very good for which the festival director Shehzad Khan needs to be commended.

While the films are good, there remains a ‘script problem’. Film-makers in our country don’t work on scripts. They only want movies to be made. “Script is the backbone of a film. Even if you have bad actors and director, a quality script enables the film to succeed.”

Mr Maqsood said he’s seen 22 out of the 33 films to be screened at the festival. The new boys and girls who have come into the field [of showbiz] are doing well.

Actor Faysal Qureshi conducted the programme. He said some 400 films were received by the organisers, out of which 80 were international entries. Thirty-three films were selected. The jury that was put together to judge the selected films comprises Anwar Maqsood, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Marilyn Agrelo, Andy Merkin, Jonathan Gann, Jack McDonald, Ram Kishor Paracha and Amena Khan.

Mr McDonald, who is an Emmy award winner, said he’s very excited to be in Pakistan. His doorway to the event was someone he met in the United States with whom he heard wonderful stories.

Actor Humayun Saeed said when he started out as a performing artist he wanted to be a film actor. In those days films were made few and far between. He did, though, get to work in a movie titled Inteha, which was a good experience. But there weren’t enough films being made. Ever since multiplexes have come up, film audiences are coming back into theatres. He was of the view the festival will help people like him spot talent.

Shehzad Khan said his team started working on the project two years back. It was a big task to bring together so many things in one place. Most of the films that are going to be shown are well-made, he claimed.

Replying to a question Mr Khan said he has sent the festival’s invites to media departments of different educational institutions in order to draw the student community to the event.

In between speeches teasers of five films were shown. They were: Choora Ek Pratha, Mah-i-Mir, Song of Lahore, Lyari Notes and A Brave Heart.

The ARY Film Fest will be held at a local mall from May 4 to 6.

Originally published in Dawn, May 4th, 2017