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Second Pakistan Film Festival to kick off in New York

NEW YORK: There has been an enthusiastic response to the second two-day Pakistan Film Festival that opens on Saturday organised by the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said: “We are delighted with the response and hope that this effort at cultural diplomacy will help put our rising film industry on the international map”.

Several celebrities participating in the festival have already started arriving in New York and are looking forward to the festival. The first edition was held in December 2016 and was also organised by Pakistan’s mission to the UN.

Mikaal Zulfikar, who appears in two of the films being screened, said the festival was an important way of showing “the other side of Pakistan”, which the media abroad rarely reflects in its coverage.

In a video message from the airport, before leaving for New York, he said that he was “super excited to be in the Big Apple and represent Pakistan”. Other actors participating in the festival include Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Asim Abbasi, Shayan Farooqi, Ali Kazmi, Ayesha Omar, Angeline Malik, and Aamina Sheikh, directors Nadeem Baig and Mehreen Jabbar

Oscar award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy will also participate in the festival in a special segment titled ‘Beyond the Oscars’, in which she will discuss her present and future work as well as challenges faced by the Pakistani film industry.

The festival will be followed by a reception on July 9 at the UN where a large number of ambassadors, UN officials and media representatives accredited to the UN as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora are expected to attend.

“By organizing the Pakistan Film Festival in New York Ambassador Lodhi is providing a platform to introduce the Pakistani style of film making to the world and ensure that it goes international”, said Mumtaz Hussain, a New York based Pakistani-American film director, writer and producer.

A prominent New York-based Pakistani banker said, “Events like the Film Festival provide multiple benefits to the community – both abroad and home- while projecting the softer image of Pakistan and its vibrant arts industry.

“These events keep the diaspora connected to Pakistani culture, while also providing international exposure to our artists and their work. This creates a virtuous cycle- the quality and revenue potential both improve over time, which in turn encourages more development”.

Mr. Sajjad Qamar, member of Pakistan American Business Association (PABA) said, “PABA would like to congratulate Pakistan’s Mission to the UN and especially Dr. Maleeha Lodhi for her tireless efforts to organise the second Pakistan Film Festival in New York.

As a PABA board member, I would like to stress the fact that such events highlight Pakistan’s culture, traditions which in turn enhance cultural understanding. Further it unites and energizes Pakistan’s diaspora to continue to expand efforts to enhance Pakistan’s international stature”.

The festival will conclude with the performance by popular singer, Zeb Bangash with her band Sandaraa. Zeb is part of the first generation of Pakistani musicians to have established themselves internationally.

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