Gandhara Independent Film Festival (GIFF) is Pakistan’s first digital film festival. It was founded in 2020 and held successful digital festivals for three consecutive years.
After the success of the 3rd Digital Edition held from the 9th to the 13th of September 2022, GIFF collaborated with NAPA to screen 15 official selections of the 3rd edition in a two-day physical event at Zia Mohyeddin Theatre, NAPA. This year’s festival included two Pakistani films.
Murder Tongue premiered for the first time in Pakistan, directed by Ali Sohail Jaura. And feature documentary The Journey Within – on the origins of Coke Studio – by Mian Adnan Ahmad was also screened. There were also screenings of 13 others from a “best shorts” selection from Cannes, Sundance, Clermont, Busan and Toronto among others.
Day 01 started with the screening of an Australian short Spider, which has been previously screened at Sundance, followed by Bear from Australia, previously selected by the Cannes festival. It was followed by films like The Silent Echo, The Journey Within and The Letter Room (previously selected by Tribeca), and followed by others.
Panel discussions hosted by NAPA discussed “Restructuring the Pakistan Film Industry” with industry professionals Khaled Anam, Faris Khalid, Omair Alvi, Ehteshamuddin and Sabiha Sumar. NAPA also hosted a 45-minute session with their alumni, discussing contemporary films and art. Day 01 ended with a good number of people showing their interest to watch the films curated by GIFF.
Day 02 of the festival started off with a workshop and followed the film screening of The Hunt from Colombia, Radio from India, Haru’s New Year from Canada, August Sky from Brazil (previously selected at Cannes), Trumpets in the Sky from Palestine (previously selected by Toronto International Film Festival) and Monsters from Canada.
The event ended with the Pakistan premiere of the internationally acclaimed short film Murder Tongue by Ali Sohail Jaura, followed by a Q&A session with the cast and crew of the film. Murder Tongue has been screened at several international film festivals across the world and has won several accolades. The film has also been screened at multiple Oscar-qualifying film festivals.
Gandhara Independent Film Festival (GIFF) works with the mission of promoting a culture of film festivals in Pakistan and giving independent filmmakers of the country a platform to showcase their best stories. The 4th Edition of GIFF 2023 will be announced soon.