“I have been blessed to have worked on amazing projects in Pakistan and I want to continue the winning streak. Also, it seems like the natural next step towards progression. I’m just following the trajectory that I mapped out for myself at the start of my media career. I knew I would ultimately land into producing features one day,” Armeena Khan explains in a conversation with Icon about her debut as a producer in the short film Snapshot.
Gathering from the press release and the poster, Snapshot is a collaborative work between Turkey and Pakistan talents. While the producers, director, writers are from Pakistan, co-actors Mert Kilic and Ayhan Isik, and the music composer Yildiray Gurgen, are from Turkey. The collaboration is part of a trend that is picking up steam in Pakistani productions of late.
Snapshot is directed by Sharaz Ali who also co-produces, and co-writes with Haider Zafar. Sharaz Ali has previously made two short films — Writhe and The Stranger Within Me — with Armeena, both of which ran out of competition at the Cannes Festival in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
From the little of the story that has been released so far, Snapshot is set in the beautiful city of Istanbul, where a Canadian girl (Armeena) gets stuck in the country because of the Covid-19 lockdown. “The storyline emphasises platonic relationships, and brings to the fore the importance of friendship,” reads the official press release.
Besides being Armeena Khan’s debut as a short-film producer, Snapshot is also a collaboration between Turkish and Pakistani talents
During the conversation, Armeena tells Icon why she started with a short film, and not a full-length feature or television series. “As a new filmmaker, I was totally green and did not wish to make expensive mistakes.” Armeena explains.
“There are so many things that can go wrong on the sets: for example, is the team on the same wavelength? Do our energies match? How are we at problem-solving? Is there honesty? Team cohesion, etc. Once you have a good team in place, with common goals and objectives, then one can take bigger, riskier steps. If everything works out, then extraordinary projects tend to materialise, so this is definitely a precursor to bigger and better projects.”
Armeena, as an actor, has starred in many high-profile projects. So where did the transition from the belle of the small and large screens, to producing a short film in Turkey come about?
“Often, I would sit there on the sets thinking of ideas, stories, and wanting to contribute to the industry in a positive way, and I guess here we are. I feel many first-time producers take the leap of faith and dive straight into features, maximising risks, making for very expensive mistakes if it all goes topsy-turvy.
“I believe in calculated risks hence I’m starting small, identifying my core competencies and flaws for better learning, and then adapting accordingly to deliver a successful project. I hope to go on the floors for my first ever feature in a matter of months, and ultimately tell the stories that I want to tell,” she continues.
Armeena also elucidates: “As an actor, I was living through half the experience. As a producer, I’m embarking on a new journey to truly live the dream. I imagine being able to tell stories exactly the way one wants. I’m so excited and I cannot wait to share all that I truly have to offer.”
Snapshot, like Armeena’s previous works with Sharaz Ali, is setting itself up for festivals at the time of this writing.
Originally published in Dawn, ICON, June 20th, 2021