Szabist organized their 16th Annual ZAB Media Festival (ZMF) from 19th to 21st May 2022, after a two-year gap because of COVID-19. The festival included screenings, along with panel discussions featuring experts from different fields.
ZMF Gold 2022 kicked off with a bang featuring Zahid Ahmed as a keynote speaker. He shared insights about his experience transitioning from his career in tech to the arts. In an interactive Q&A session, Ahmed inspired students by encouraging them to pursue their passion while also fulfilling their responsibilities to the people in their lives.
The second guest for the evening was Saqib Malik. After the screening of his film ‘Baaji’ which focuses on ageism and its effect on the industry and the actors, he fielded questions from the audience sharing his experience of making it to the big screen. He gave his perspective on things he wishes he had done differently due to an artist’s work never being finished since they are constantly evolving.
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The ‘Instant’ Revolution – The Rise Of Digital Stars
The second day featured numerous artists. The topic under discussion was ‘The instant Revolution’ in which the panelists Ali Gul Pir, Patangeer and Dananeer Mobeen moderated by Akbar Chaudhry discussed the effects of social media on influencers.
They further talked about the concept and unpredictable nature of virality in today’s time. The panelists reflected on their struggles of having to keep up with the fast-paced nature of social media and creating content as well as how they manage to keep their social and personal lives separate to make time for themselves and their families. The lighthearted and witty conversation left the audience feeling elated as the panelists answered a couple of questions before the session ended.
The Breakfast Club
The second panel’s topic was ‘The Breakfast Club’ focusing on morning shows, journalism, and entertainment and how they have all coalesced into the genre of infotainment blurring the lines between each. They further delved into the discussion of how there is an untapped audience because the current focus is on a certain age group and gender. Huma shared how it’s now impossible to have content in one language Urdu/English rather a mixture of both.
The panelists shared their views on the recent event that took place on Margalla hills where a fire was started but also presented the opinion that there are times when television should be left to be only entertainment and not news.
The Tour De Force of TV
The last panel of the day consisted of fan favorites Kubra Khan, Nadeem Baig, and Durefishan Saleem moderated by the talented Rabia Mughni. The panel‘s topic ‘The Tour De Force of TV’ shed light on the struggles faced by actors in selecting scripts and finding their passion. They discussed the limited roles offered to women and how slowly but steadily the norm is changing to put forth narratives that depict strong women.
Nadeem Baig shared his experience of directing Sinf-e-Ahan and the part it played in showcasing empowered women. It was also revealed that Kubra Khan was interested in another role but Baig had her selected for Mahjabeen’s character hence bringing up the faith actors have to put into their directors and that trusting the process has its benefits.
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Ad-Volution – The Era of Digital Media
With the evolution of time, the course of advertising has also come a long way. Starting from print and currently resting on digital advertising. Why did this change happen and how did it work, the question remains.
Esteemed panelists Adnan Syed, Mansoor Karim, and Asad ul Haq enlightened the audience with their wisdom on how meticulously aspects of advertising are thought about, be it a location for a billboard or the copy it incorporates. It all has to do with how the brand advocates itself. Furthermore, they shed light on the importance of the digital platform present to date. As it is more of an insight to know where one viewed the advert than if the advert was viewed or not.
Along with that, with the pace of work and the amount of devotion comes failure as well which may not look like vertical growth but that’s not how it should be interpreted. Our panelist shared with the graduating batch of Szabist Media Science 2022 their thought processes when the ideation of a project doesn’t go as expected in context to the audience, the client or even for themselves giving aspiring advertising professionals confidence to put their best self forward nonetheless.
The Renaissance Of Films – Where Is It Heading
Films are a part of a society’s art and culture. Where do Pakistani films fall, why are they shushed by the censor board, and are they standing under prejudice? These concerns were put to question and were explored, explained, and rationalized in context by actors Ali Rehman Khan, Farhan Saeed, and filmmakers Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza.
Moderator Sajeer Sheikh asked insightful questions that brought about the view that even though at the end of the day content is key, how would viewers know what they like and what they don’t without giving it a chance. In both cases, advocacy is highly significant.
The discussion highlighted the concern about whether or not the film industry is perceived as an industry as a whole due to the prevalence of digital platforms. Cinema requires a solid backbone for the Pakistani film industry to thrive owing to the unpredictability of interpretation of art in general. By the end of it, the audience wants their money’s worth. Therefore, why not build a strategy to justify watching Pakistani features over international big screens. Furthermore, the implications of censorship were taken into account, and how it’s about time a new set of rules should be devised.
All in all, films make their way through thick and thin as a means to deliver heartfelt themes in a light and remembered manner. Where the message is conveyed and the recall is food for the soul; missing out on that experience is a step back for an industry that has so much potential.
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The Vamps On Your TV
Surely we have all been villains in someone’s life around us. That’s every one of us, that’s human, but what about the women who depicted the role of a villain, vamps as said.
Who is she, why is she called so, is there a preset to it, what’s the perception about her, how is she any different and lastly, what is her backstory? Sanam Saeed, Faiza Hasan, and Fifi Haroon took the stage as these questions underwent an array of insights and analyses that not only cleared out concerns, but rather helped ignite inspiration and aspiration in actresses representing their character and themselves. Szabist lecturer Shahjehan Saleem joined the panel and put forth his perspective on the representation of vamps and how their depiction in media affects daily lives.
Moderator Manal Faheem Khan’s apt and intriguing questions had panelists present their opinions formed on the basis of years of experience along with shining a light upon the acceptance, or lack thereof, of empowered women on different platforms with regard to advertising and drama comparatively.