Lahore (Qasim Ali)
It was a momentous journey filled with cultural exchange, cinematic marvels, and unforgettable experiences as four exceptionally talented Pakistani youngsters represented their nation with pride and enthusiasm at the 2nd “Salam” International Youth Film Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan from 28th to 31th August 2023.
Selected and guided by the Lahore International Children’s Film Festival (LICFF) and The Little Art under the supervision of Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager, these bright young stars, Rashna Zafar, Abdul Rehman Zafar, Ali Raza Sial, and Moeez Athar, aged between 13 to 18, embodied the future of Pakistani cinema and cultural diplomacy.
The festival itself was an enchanting cinematic wonderland, adorned with captivating film programming, engaging discussions with esteemed filmmakers, and interactive sessions. What truly underscored the exceptional talents of these young delegates was their collaborative effort in crafting 20 captivating short films. These works of art, created in groups alongside their international peers during the festival, stand as a testament to their remarkable creativity and storytelling prowess. These films seamlessly became an integral part of the festival, infusing a touch of Pakistani cinematic magic onto the international stage. Furthermore, the young delegates had the unique privilege of attending master workshops on scriptwriting, production design, and storytelling, further enriching their skills and deepening their understanding of the art of filmmaking. “The impeccable management of the festival by the dedicated team of Nariman Film ensured that every moment was a treasure to be cherished,” said Umair Mushtaq, Senior Manager.
The highlight of their journey was a special meeting with His Excellency Mr. Bilal Hayee, Ambassador of Pakistan to Azerbaijan, who warmly felicitated the young ambassadors for their active participation and stellar representation of Pakistan at this prestigious festival.A symbolic gift in the form of a painting, created by a young Azerbaijani artist, encapsulating the enduring friendship between Pakistan and Azerbaijan, was presented to the delegation, serving as a lasting memory of their time.
Azerbaijani culture and cuisine stole their hearts as they immersed themselves in the local traditions and savored the delectable Azerbaijani food.
This journey wasn’t just a festival; it was an exploration of cultures, a celebration of talent, and a stepping stone toward a brighter future of artistic collaboration and cultural exchange between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.