Pakistani short film wins first prize at Girls Impact The World Festival
Representing Pakistan on a global stage, young filmmaker Sarah Jehaan Khan has won the first prize for her short film ‘Passoon’ at the Girls Impact The World Festival.
Sarah is a student at Manfield College at Oxford University. Her short film Passoon is based on Manal Shad, a young climate activist in Dir, Pakistan.
The meaning of the word Passoon is to ‘rise for a cause’ and that’s what precisely depicted in her short film. The film celebrates the leadership of young Pakistani women and documents the innovative and indigenous sustainability methods. Through her film, the voices of young Pakistani women on the subject of climate movement are heard globally.
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Turns out when you follow your passion, you put in more effort and end up succeeding! In a nutshell, that’s the story of Sarah Jehaan Khan who followed her passion to make films and recently won the first prize at Girls Impact the World Film Festival. A student at Manfield College Oxford University, Sarah’s film Passoon (پاسون) is a short film based on a young climate activist in Dir, Pakistan named Manal Shad. Passoon means to rise for a cause and that’s what Sarah’s film shows. It documents indigenous and innovative sustainability methods from Pakistan and celebrates the leadership of young, Pakistani women — voices that are internationally overlooked in the climate movement. Source: @dawn_images #GirlsImpactTheWorld #FilmFestival #Passoon #Award #Pakistan #News #Update #World #TheSStories #TheSStoriesbySA #SStoriesMag
Talking to Dawn Images in an exclusive interview, Sarah told the reason why she decided to tell Manal’s story. As she came across a video on social media, where Manal was giving a speech about social issues in her hometown to a congregation of men in Dir.
“I immediately knew I wanted to get in touch with her, and once I managed to find her in Dir, I spent some days at her home and visited her school where I filmed Passoon. Seeing the impact individuals such as Greta Thunberg have had, I felt it was equally important to amplify the voices of young climate activists from developing countries such as Pakistan.”
Sarah also wanted to highlight the cost humans have to bear due to the ongoing climate changes and create awareness about how severely it can affect basic human rights.
“Policymakers who watched my films said they had tears in their eyes because they had never realized that increasing water scarcity means girls in developing countries cannot go to school since it is their job to fetch water every day from miles away.”
In the movie, Sarah particularly stressed the costs women and native groups have to endure, and it’s severity due to their vulnerability. But, this journey of showcasing Manal’s story to the world came with its own set of challenges. The biggest challenge for her was to travel and shoot the film in completely new and unfamiliar regions.
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We congratulate filmmaker @sarahjehaan!✨Who won first prize at the Girls Impact The World Film Festival for her brilliant short film! “Passoon: Girls Championing Sustainability”❤️🏆 . . #SarahJehaan #shortfilm #Passoon #filmmaker #artist #girlsimpacttheworld #love #kindness #risingup #cause #Karachi #Lahore #Islamabad #Pakistan #EditionPK
She said, “Manal and her family were kind enough to let me stay at their house in Dir for the duration of the filming, which helped me do justice to her story.”
A plus for Sarah was that she also speaks the local language (Pashto), which proved very helpful for her in her communications with Manal and others. And this made a significant impact as you can see it on the screen.
Although proud of her achievement, the greatest joy this award brought to Sarah was that her work was able to amplify the voices and effort of young climate advocates leading indigenous movements. For her, this victory is an important lesson on how stories and films can impact people’s lives.
“This experience has made me appreciate the power film has in addressing, and even tackling global human rights issues such as climate change. I hope to continue using mediums of storytelling to address the reality of the risk climate change poses to basic human rights, but also to document innovative adaptation strategies from around Pakistan.”
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