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Banned documentary bags two awards in New Zealand film festival

KARACHI: Pakistani documentary “Among the Believers”, which was banned by the government, won two awards in a film festival held in New Zealand.

“Among the Believers” clinched two awards at Doc Edge, a film festival organized in New Zealand.

One of the co-directors of Among the Believers Mohammad Naqvi, in his Instagram post, announced that he and the co-director Hemal Trivedi won the award for Best International Director and his work was especially mentioned in the Best International Documentary category.

The documentary tells the story of two children, named Talha and Zarina, who attend seminaries operated by the cleric of Lal Masjid Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Talha decides to become a religious preacher after detaching himself from his family having moderate views. Zarina, on the other hand, gets enrolled in a school and her education gets threatened due to attacks by Taliban on educational institutions.

Among the Believers also tells the story of the Lal Masjid cleric and his quest for making his own version of an imagined Islamic society.

The movie was scheduled to be screened in Pakistan on April 29th.

Naqvi said, “In fact, I see it as a coming-of-age tale, one where you can see how the ideological divide in Pakistan is fostered and grows in childhood. We’ve devoted 5 years to this project, and it’s very representative of Pakistan.”

The documentary was banned by the government of Pakistan over ‘portraying a negative image of the country’.

Central Board of Film Censors stated that it contained dialogues which project the negative image of Pakistan in the context of ongoing fighting against extremism and terrorism.

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