The Documentary Association of Pakistan (DAP) is launching the Chalta Phirta Documentary Film Festival, a travelling film festival that will show thought-provoking films in 11 cities including Karachi, Hyderabad, Jamshoro, Lahore, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar and Gilgit.
The volunteer-run festival will showcase a new set of documentary films in each of these cities on a bi-annual basis. The first edition of the festival is themed around stories of migration and conflict and will bring international award-winning Pakistani films to audiences at home, including Emmy winner Armed with Faith, as well as A Walnut Tree and Sindhustan.
"As a Pakistani documentary filmmaker, what makes me sad is that some of the most globally successful Pakistani documentary films are never accessible to the ordinary Pakistani. Our own people don't get to see our own films about our own country's reality,” says Haya Fatima Iqbal, a DAP founding member.
“We are fixing this gap through Chalta Phirta Documentary Festival. If no one else will take the initiative, we will. We will bring some of the most powerful Pakistani documentaries to you in your city."
The festival also wants to address some of the misconceptions around documentaries and Pakistani films that win abroad — and the people who make them.
“People in Pakistan are often suspicious of documentary filmmakers because they are unable to access their films. This gives birth to all sorts of conspiracy theories about foreign funding and agendas. The truth is that most filmmakers would love to screen their films in Pakistan, but there just aren’t any avenues to do so,” says Fahad Naveed, also a DAP founding member
“This is why I’m so excited for the Chalta Phirta Documentary Festival, and for the opportunity to bring documentary cinema to 11 cities in Pakistan. For years we’ve been showing films about Pakistanis to international audiences, it’s time we also bring these stories back home.”
The festival is a collaboration with Interactive Resource Centre and Movies That Matter, and the DAP aims to promote the art of documentary filmmaking in Pakistan, to strengthen the community of documentary filmmakers in the country, and to provide mentorship and training to documentary filmmakers.