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Pakistan Film Festival opens in New York with star-studded event

UNITED NATIONS (APP):The second edition of Pakistan Film Festival opened in New York Saturday in the presence of some of the biggest stars of the Pakistani movie industry, with Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi saying that the films being screened during the two-day event convey the country’s energy and dynamism.

“We have organized our film festival to both acknowledge the remarkable revival of Pakistan’s cinema and to showcase and celebrate it,” the Pakistani envoy told a large and enthusiastic audience in the spacious hall of Asia Society.

The Pakistan Mission to the United Nations organized the festival, as it did in 2016.

On Saturday, 7 Din Mohabat In, Parchi, Verna and Cake drew packed houses, while on Sunday Na Band Na Baraati, Punjab Nahi Jaongi, and Lala Begum will be shown.

Also on Sunday, Oscar award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy will participate in the festival’s special segment titled “Beyond the Oscars,” in which she will discuss her present and future work as well as challenges faced by Pakistan’s film industry. Her animated film, 3 Bahadur was screened during the First Film Festival in New York in December 2016.

Ambassador Lodhi declared the festival open to a roaring crowd as she presented top stars like Mahira Khan, Mikaal Zulfikar, Mehwish Hayat, Aamina Sheikh and others.

Thanking the stars and directors for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to New York, the Pakistani envoy paid tributes to them for reviving a the industry which had become practically dormant.

“This revival has been spearheaded by a new wave of young filmmakers and actors; they have produced a devise array of movies that have been pushing the boundaries and charting and breaking new ground by tackling bold themes and using digital technology,” she said.

Ambassador Lodhi hoped that the festival will contribute to that process, and that this celebration of films from Pakistan will “convey the energy, dynamism and optimism that define today’s Pakistan.”

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

On Monday, Ambassador Lodhi is hosting a reception at the United Nations where Ambassadors, UN officials and media representatives accredited to the UN have been invited, as well as members of the Pakistani diaspora.

Since assuming charge as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Lodhi has undertaken several cultural projects and organized a series of events to promote Pakistan’s soft image and highlight its modern and vibrant culture as well its ancient civilizational roots.

“Cultural diplomacy is a vital part of any diplomat’s job which is aimed at winning hearts and minds”, Ambassador Lodhi said in an interview with APP. She added that Pakistan has much to offer the world in this regard, and its diplomats’ responsibility is to ensure that this is projected in the international arena.

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