The journey and the roadblocks of Pakistan’s definitive film festival
The much-awaited KaraFilm Festival that has been attracting the cinema lovers since 2001 has been postponed again due to the instable condition of our country. Instep talks to the Festival Director, Hasan Zaidi, about the journey of Kara over the years and how important it is in the larger scheme of things.
By Fatima Zakir
With the revival of cinema happening in Pakistan, against all odds, the hope of seeing good movies return to the big screen is finally being realised. Along with the commercial fare, films like Khuda Kay Liye and Ramchand Pakistani are also getting a chance to see the light of day. As are off the wall films like the slash fest Zibahkhana. One thing is for sure – we do want alternative cinema to flourish in this country. A country’s cinema is made more vibrant when all kinds of people are making all kinds of film and all kinds of people turn up to see them. This is the great service film festivals do for a country – they provide an opportunity for that to happen and are also a catalyst that fuels the process. For the past eight years, the Karafilm Society has been organising the Karafilm Festival in Karachi with both national and international appeal that does just that.
The 7th KaraFilm Festival was scheduled to take place in November this year. Preparations were in the middle but ironically terrorism strikes again in the form of Marriott bombings and they had to postpone it for a second time. It took a lot of time and hard work to make Kara recognizable in the national and international arena and we can’t afford to miss out such a healthy entertainment.
“It was supposed to be bigger this year as we had to incorporate films of this year, last year and 2006 as well but we had to call it off at the last moment because of the Marriott blasts,” says Hasan Zaidi, Festival Director Kara. “Of course who is going to come to Pakistan after all the bombings and political instability? Film festivals are made with international participation and without that the whole idea of a film festival is just killed.”
That Kara has gotten cancelled now is a tragedy. Ever since 2001, when it was first held, the festival has become bigger and better attracting international and local filmmakers and giving cinema buffs a chance to interact with them. The festival that has grown bigger and better every year culminated in 2006 with a showing of Omkara for which it’s star Ajay Devgan and ace director Vishal Bharadwaj had come down. But sadly, last year we couldn’t have the luxury to attend Karafilm Festival due to the instable political situation caused by the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto. And just when we thought we can enjoy it this year