Documentaries and short films on the effects of war, hunger, social abuses and other issues were screened on the second day of the Asia Peace Film Festival at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Tuesday.

As many as 29 short films, documentaries, animations and fiction productions were screened at the event which also included panel discussions and question answer sessions with film makers. A large number of art students also attended the event.

One of the short films, which only ran for five and a half minutes and was titled Crow’s Nest, was the story of a little girl from Kerala and the struggles she faced when she moved to a large city.

The film, which was directed by Amritha Warrier, explores the option of her going back to her hometown and whether she has lost her roots.

An animation from Turkey, The Box was based on the effects of war on children.

The movie follows the life of a Syrian child and how his life changes with the war.

The war also changes the role of a box he plays with which he used as a toy house, then as a place to be in at a refugee camp and finally as a boat.

Speakers at a panel discussion later underlined the importance of visual and performance arts in helping children with the traumas they face during war.

The director of The Box, Merve Cirisoglu Cotur said she was using artwork to spread peace and had helped a number of children affected by the war in Syria.

Ms Cotur also spoke about her experiences of working with children in a refugee camp where she engaged them in drawings and said involving children in art has a tremendous healing potential.

She said a she had started the ‘Book Mark Project’ with a friend of hers in which they made book marks and key chains with pictures from Merve’s animation works which they sold via social media in order to collect money for building orphanages and other projects for children.

Khadim Hussein from the Bacha Khan Trust Education Foundation said the trust was spreading the message of peace through visual and performing arts, crafts and folklore.

Originally published in Dawn, September 20th, 2017