By: Frances Du
Usually your thesis doesn't wind up center stage at the Cannes Film Festival, but for Faraz Waqar this is exactly the position he finds himself in. As a graduate of the prestigious New York Film Academy in Abu Dhabi, this young Pakistani filmmaker got the chance to develop and nurture his talent while undergoing serious meditations on what he envisions for Pakistan’s film industry, a small budding market hungry for international recognition.
Right off the heels of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s film “Saving Face” which won best short documentary at the 2012 Oscars back in February, Waqar predicts Pakistan will be able to compete with other thriving film industries simply because it’s a nation steeped with untold stories. While “Saving Face” draws global attention towards women who are forced to undergo cosmetic surgery after being doused with battery acid by their violent husbands, Waqar’s film “9-11am” deals with another crucial social issue that has haunted the country for many years: how the 9/11 terrorist attack forever changed the world’s view about Pakistan.
Waqar insists that film is a great way to address these social issues while re-inventing Pakistan’s image in the eyes of the world.
In a recent interview with Hani Taha, a reporter for the International Herald Tribune, Waqar insists that these issues can be addressed through dramatic documentaries but also through lighter mediums such as a comedy. On the subject of stereotypes the enthusiastic young filmmaker says: “Imagine a comedy involving foreigners who land in Pakistan fearing for their lives because of the image painted of the country in the news media and what a different reality they find on-ground.”
While Waqar’s director credits are still razor-thin, his boundless imagination and socially conscious mindset is refreshing especially amidst Hollywood’s endless sea of poor remakes and superhero sequels.