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    Saturday, 22 September 2012

    BOL Won Fukuoka Audience Award 2012 in JAPAN

    There was a short span of silence as Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival Executive Committee Chairman Tsuneo Shindo announced the winner of the Fukuoka Audience Award for 2012 at the JR Kyushu Hall in Fukuoka on September 19.
    When Mr. Shindo announced that the award went to “Speak Up” from Pakistan, its director, Shoaib Mansoor was literally shocked with disbelief. After all, Mr. Mansoor had won the same Fukuoka Audience Award in 2008 with his first feature film, “In the Name of God ”(Khuda Kay Liye), a film depicting how those of the Islamic faith are regarded in the U.S. after 9.11 among other themes.

    Accepting the award, Mr. Mansoor said, “This is such an honor and I feel terribly excited!” He added: “I have only made two feature films in my life, “In the Name of God” being my first in 2007, and “Speak Up” in 2011. I’m terribly happy and feel blessed that both have been selected for this prestigious award. My heart is full of gratitude to the people of Fukuoka who have supported me. There are many things that are going wrong with my country of Pakistan. Rather than making this film out of a wish to have the outside world realize the reality of what is happening in Pakistan, I made this film to educate those living in Pakistan on what their everyday reality is. As a matter of fact, Fukuoka is the first place to show this film outside of Pakistan. I’m also really grateful that Fukuoka’s library will preserve this film. I am really grateful. I would like very much to return to Fukuoka. Thank you all so very much.”

    Judging from the fact that Fukuoka has now given Mr. Mansoor its Audience Award twice, I’m sure its people will be interested to see his next film. “Speak Up”, which won the Fukuoka Audience Award 2012 can still be seen at the festival on September 20 (Thursday) at 4 pm and September 23 (Sunday) at 10 am.

    Mr. Shoaib Mansoor’s Press Conference Comments
    As I’ve said on a number of occasions, I’ve only made two feature films in my life and I am really surprised but overjoyed that not only was I able to submit both for exhibition to this festival in Fukuoka but that both were awarded the Fukuoka Audience Award. It is indeed an honor. I have been in the television industry for about 30 years, mostly producing works of entertainment to entertain people. However as various incidents came about, I started to realize limitations to what I could do. I realized that what airs on television soon disappears and that this media is one which is easily consumed.  So I decided to move into the film industry. Films leave an impression, which lasts and they have more impact than television. I produce films solely to inform the people of my country precisely on what is going wrong with the nation. I might add that the film industry in Pakistan is in decline. I had many, many things I wanted to convey. It was in this spirit that I made “In the Name of God” in 2007.

    As with my previous work and this film as well, I am grateful for the support from people outside my country including Fukuoka. However, I am not producing films to win awards or get high praise. Rather than for audiences outside my country, my films are made persistently for audiences in Pakistan, the country I was born  and presently reside in. I wanted to redress the various problems occurring in my country, which I believe are wrong, by using motion pictures as a form of expression. Presently, there are two large social strata that divide Pakistan. One, much like what the elder daughter in the film would like to see, is a progressive stratum. The other, like what the father in the film believes in, is a social stratum that returns to the past. This is indeed a fundamentalist social stratum. These two strata are bringing about tragedy on a daily basis. With this film, I incorporated what is really happening in Pakistan today into a story.

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