Sharmin Obaid Chinoy, a renowned journalist and documentary filmmaker, initiated a mentorship program. This program intends to assist upcoming filmmakers from the KPK-adjacent Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan, and Khyber Districts. The program’s objective is to give the kids the resources and guidance they need to produce their own quick documentaries.
Chenoy’s Patakha Pictures has started this mentoring initiative. In order to inspire and aid a new generation of Pakistani storytellers, Patakha Pictures was established. Patakha Pictures’ programs encourage young people to make short documentaries that raise awareness of significant topics and appeal to a larger audience. This can be done by offering mentorship and funding to the youngsters.
This will be the fifth such program to be launched, with three previous cycles having been successful and one currently in progress. This is the first program that is exclusively available for youth in the newly combined districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan, and Khyber. It is also open to all individuals without regard to gender.
Ten filmmakers from newly merged districts will collaborate with ten filmmakers from KPK as part of this program to produce ten short documentaries. In order to foster and advance the narrative abilities of the program’s fellows, Patakha Pictures will appoint one mentor from abroad and one from Pakistan. They will be able to catch the interest of both domestic and foreign audiences.
As a filmmaker myself, I’ve noticed how voices from the recently combined districts have been overlooked in our mainstream media, said Chenoy. This Patakha Pictures mentorship and funding cycle is therefore vitally essential. Ten aspiring filmmakers from these districts will be linked with ten filmmakers from the rest of KPK as part of this program, giving them a crucial platform to tell their story in their own words and on their home ground.
Chenoy is hoping that with the support of this initiative, the outstanding mentors will provide essential support and guidance to help their fellow filmmakers in finishing their films. Filmmakers between the ages of 18 and 29 who reside in Kurram, Orakzai, North Waziristan, and Khyber Districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its recently merged districts are encouraged to apply for this program.
The program, which will have at least twice-monthly online workshops, will start in November 2023 and run through October 2024. Applications are still being accepted through November 5. The seminars will include meetings with mentors from outside and Pakistan with occasional check-ins. The Mentorship workshops will include topics like storytelling, creating narratives, character development, directing, sound design, and editing, among others. In October 2024, the finished films will be formally released in Karachi at a celebratory closing event.
Chenoy’s Mentorship Programs for Women Filmmakers
Chenoy is highly renowned for her efforts to advance Pakistan’s entertainment sector. In 2022, she introduced “Pakistan Stories,” the first financial initiative created just to assist Pakistani women filmmakers.
The Scottish Documentary Institute and the British Council collaborated to create the program, which will help 10 promising female directors create short films.
To mark 75 years of Pakistan’s independence, the program was introduced. The initiative aims to assist women in creating their films in a secure setting and expanding their local and global audiences through their work from the female perspective.
The Oscar-winning filmmaker Chinoy, who also created the documentaries “Saving Face” and “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” is passionate about these types of projects. She has always thought that stories should be told. She aimed to promote and champion creative independence in visual storytelling through her first-ever funding and mentorship initiative. This strategy will benefit the community of upcoming and future female filmmakers who represent variety, innovation, and originality of vision.
The practice-led workshop by experts from Scotland and Pakistan was designed to help participants develop an understanding of creative documentary for festivals, finance their ideas, and connect them to local and international networks of filmmakers.
During the program, they were asked to produce 10-minute documentaries that were later used for national and international distribution.
Sharmeen’s Largest Filmmaking Grant for Women
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy announced Pakistan’s largest filmmaking grant for women. The grant under her funding and mentorship platform, Patakha Pictures, in 2022 is PKR 1 crore.
Launched in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi [ITA] and the Consulate General Karachi, this was Patakha Picture’s third funding and mentorship program, “Stories from Southern Pakistan”. Filmmakers from US and Scotland were brought in as mentors for the program.
Patakha Pictures was launched to empower and support a new generation of female Pakistani filmmakers who wish to create engaging films that reflect on and question their society on themes such as women empowerment, violence against women and minorities, arts, culture, climate change, and peace-building.
For the first grant launched in February 2022, 10 female filmmakers worked in pairs for 12 weeks to develop their creative skills and create five short films. All of these films are currently screening across global film festivals, with two films winning international awards.
For the second grant, one documentary filmmaker was selected as a Taiwan Pitch Pakistan Fellow Grantee. She received 10,000 USD in funding to participate in the “Talent Village” workshop held in Taiwan and to create a short non-fiction film.
For the third grant, 20 emerging filmmakers created stories from southern Pakistan. They were given PKR 1 million per pair to create 10 short documentaries (20–30 minutes in duration).
Sharmeen gave Talented women The wings—to Fly
The 10 films of 20 to 30-minute duration had their own merit, but getting to know the stories, challenges, and struggles of the 20 talented female filmmakers who so beautifully brought their subjects to the big screen also deserves thunderous applause.
All of them stole the show at the closing ceremony celebrating the successful conclusion of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Patakha Pictures’ largest filmmaking grant and mentorship program, ‘Stories from Southern Pakistan
It was a project very dear to the two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker’s heart. Chenoy always used to dream of becoming a filmmaker back in 2002, just like the emerging female filmmakers. On serious note, Sharmeen Obaid Chenoy gave those 20 talented women wings to fly high.