Seemab Gul’s short film Sandstorm (Mulaqat) qualifies for an Oscar

Seemab Gul’s short film Sandstorm (Mulaqat) qualifies for an Oscar

It was among the top three award-winning films at the Oscar-qualifying film festival, HollyShorts.
22 Aug, 2022

Filmmaker Seemab Gul’s short film Sandstorm (Mulaqat) was among the top three films at the HollyShorts Film Festival 2022, which ran from August 11 to August 20. The festival presented its prizes on Saturday in Hollywood.

HollyShorts is an Oscar-qualifying festival for short-film categories, and the winners of those three awards are automatically entered in the Oscar race. According to The Wrap, Hallelujah won the Grand Prix for the festival’s best short, Sandstorm (Mulaqat) took the honours as the best live-action short and Scale won for animation.

“Mulaqat, directed by Seemab Gul, won at two Academy Award qualifying festivals HollyShorts and Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival in August 2022 which coincidentally is also the month we celebrate the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan,“ one of the producers, Abid Aziz Merchant, captioned his Instagram post announcing the news.

The film has been produced by Gul and Merchant in collaboration with Sanat Initiative and Instinct Productions. Starring Hamza Mushtaq, Parizae Fatima, Ayesha Shoaib Ahmed and Nabila Khan, it is the story of a teenage girl named Zara whose life turns tumultuous after she shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend. He starts to blackmail her into meeting him in person. “Will Zara give in to this stranger’s increasing demands or will she set herself free?” questioned the teaser.

The short has made its way to several notable film festivals, including Sundance, Vaughan and Short Shorts. Ischia Film Festival included it in the Honourable Mentions category and described it as, “A portrait of a teenage girl who, in her naivety, is confronted with cultural stigmas and lack of freedom. Sandstorm is a powerful, elegant and well-acted film that succeeds in depicting how such longing often is caused by the balance between coercion and outright blackmail.”

It has bagged several awards as well.

Congratulations to the team!


Syed Aug 22, 2022 02:47pm
A global issue well addressed and given due importance
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Syed Hasni Aug 22, 2022 03:00pm
Will definitely like to see the movie.
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NYS Aug 22, 2022 03:35pm
That is the topic that current era particularly naive [girls] are facing.... The bravery how to counter those issues— Period!
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KHK Aug 22, 2022 03:44pm
The message should be not to interact with any stranger (non mahram) at all whether virtual or physical. That solves related major issues of the society I wonder that is preached in this, if not than another wasteful effort.
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Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Aug 22, 2022 04:02pm
Great move and wonderful news.
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KAZIM REZA Aug 22, 2022 05:45pm
young and innocent days doesn't always bear next good day!
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MBA Aug 22, 2022 05:50pm
Wonderful news. Hope the film wins the oscar as well.
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manzerm Aug 22, 2022 08:06pm
@KHK Had it preached that it would not get any awards. Here lies the dilemma of our filmmakers who want to become famous.
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Hanna Aug 22, 2022 11:28pm
@KHK no this doesn't solve any and it never has in any society
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Hanna Aug 22, 2022 11:31pm
Good job for picking a sensitive subject and thoughtfully depicting it
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