New York-based investment banker and accidental entrepreneur Abbas Hashmi hopes to bring Pakistani heroes to the forefront with a project titled Heroes of Pakistan. With a film competition, the 35-year-old hopes to highlight the achievements of regular people.
Open to “everyone”, the contest organisers are encouraging young people to submit five-minute videos talking about someone they consider a hero. Documentaries can be in any format, with raw and amateur footage also being accepted. Not only will the winner take home $1,000 as prize money, their documentary will air on TV in North America, and possibly around the world. The winner may also be able to sign a potential contract with SoundView Broadcasting.
“I am taking every hero that young people are inspired by and connecting them through a short film,” says Hashmi. “Sadly, in Pakistan we have an unrealistic concept of heroes that we don’t connect to on a human level,” says Hashmi. He hopes to bring attention to unsung local heroes who have influenced and touched lives in some way.
Sharing a personal anecdote, Hashmi spoke about how his father was coached by a bureaucrat who inspired him, and how his father later inspired him.
Talking about the contest, Hashmi said each film will be judged by a jury panel on “technical soundness, relevance to society and strict adherence to guidelines”. After the contest period has ended, a jury will shortlist the 30 best entries which will then be posted online for a second round of voting by both a panel of film industry judges and the public.
While he wants to bring attention to everyday heroes that have inspired people, he also feels the project will beckon aspiring young film-makers to sharpen their skills. Eventually, he feels, they could gain confidence and go on to become profession film-makers.
“We plan to produce the next generation of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoys, Mehreen Jabbars and Mo Naqvis,” he said. “This way, we are not only celebrating every day heroes, but also those who introduce us to them.”
He strongly urges amateur film-makers to get out of their comfort zones because he feels films go a long way and have a great social impact. “We also believe [this project] will generate a lot of traffic on the local and international front.”
“I would love to participate,” says film-maker Seher Palijo, who has made documentaries such as Reality of Karachi, which has been screened on the Samosa website, along with being broadcast at Emerald Channel, UK. Her documentary Paper Bus has been broadcast on An Idea, London Film Festival. “My hero is my dad,” she says, adding that she hopes to submit a film.
Another young film-maker Awais Ahmed says, “We have many heroes in our midst. Some call Zamurd Khan a hero. For others, Sikander Khan is one,” he joked. “But for me, my hero should be my hero, someone I can connect with.”
• The video must be an original piece of work created for this contest or prior to it
• A minimum of one minute and a maximum of five minutes in length
• Primarily in English and/or Urdu languages (non-English language videos must be accompanied by a written English translation and/or contain English subtitles)
• In high-definition format
• Entries will be accepted starting September 1, 2013 until the deadline of October 31, 2013
• Entrants must be residents of Pakistan.
• Hero must be of Pakistani origin.
• Adherence to the theme: No Pain, No Gain
• A good story that elicits an emotional response from the viewer
Visit: www.greencardcapital.com for contest details, which opens September 1, 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2013.