Pakistan Re-Enters Oscar Race After 50-Year Absence

Oscars Academy Awards

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, winner for her 2011 short docu, will head selection committee

Pakistan will submit an entry to Oscar’s foreign-language category after a gap of 50 years, though the committee has not yet chosen the film.

Each country is allowed one submission and can decide how that film can be chosen. The Pakistan committee has been formed independently and no approval was sought from the government, since it is not required by the Academy. The deadline for submitting foreign-language film submissions to the Academy is Oct. 1.

Chairing the committee is Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who became the country’s first Oscar winner for co-directing (with Daniel Junge) the 2011 documentary short subject “Saving Face.” Also on the panel are writer Mohsin Hamid (“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”), helmer Mehreen Jabbar (“Ramchand Pakistani”), actor Rahat Kazmi, filmmaker Akifa Mian (“Inaam”), hyphenate Samina Peerzada (“Inteha”) and arts academic Framji Minwalla.

They will have plenty to choose from, as after a few dormant years, the Pakistan film industry is enjoying a revival, with 21 releases in 2013.

There is no stated government policy against Oscar participation. But it seems to have been a low priority, thanks to political turmoil and general lack of precedence within the film establishment.

The country has sent only two films to the Academy since the category was created in 1956: Akhtar J. Kardar’s “Jago hua savera” in 1959 and Khawaja Khurshid Anwar’s “Ghunghat” in 1963.

British-Pakistani helmer Hammad Khan, whose debut feature “Slackistan” was banned in Pakistan, told Variety this week: “Pakistan has not officially submitted any films for the Academy Awards consideration in 50 years because the state has never taken film seriously, neither as a cultural art form nor as a valuable communal experience. In all those years, Pakistan has been so preoccupied with coups, wars and religion that cinema has only been reduced to low entertainment by the powers-that-be. It is, of course, monumentally idiotic to ignore the power of cinema in the development of any nation’s narrative.”

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  1. maryam amjad says:

    wow,it seems like here the time comes when pakistani cinema is going to be revived

  2. Saving face is not a Pakistani film. It is incorrect that Day Shall Dawn(Jago Huwa Savera) and Veil (Ghunghat) were sent for Oscar nomination , Day Shall Dawn came in 1959 and not 1956. Veil (Ghunghat) came in 1962 and not 1963.
    Aijaz Gul

  3. Cindy says:

    “JOSH” written and directed by IRAM BILAL.

  4. LOL says:

    I’m not Pakistani but have to declare a total adoration of its exploitation movies and magnificent poster art. In fact, I have an Indian pal who said to me that the drama writers in Pakistan are way better than in India, only as a nation Pakistan lacks the technology and tenacity to really make a go of things. He even said that someone should make a documentary about the history of Pakistani cinema because it essentially holds a mirror to the ever-changing political moods of the nation.

    Pakistani poster art is better than Warhol. Seriously.

  5. Yasir Nawaz says:

    Its really a good news for Pakistan and a great motivation for film makers, so happy about it :)
    Just wanted to know for my information who selected this committee? why no male film maker in the committee? any specific reason……..

    • shelly says:

      read carefully ,there are two males in the group,Mohsin hamid and Rahat kazmi… need to feel insecure………….

      • Yasir Nawaz says:

        You need to read more care fully there are 3 males u missed Framji Minwalla. and none of them is a film maker. My question is from some one who knows the answer or is part selection committee.

  6. Sara says:

    Yesss!!! Finally! Way to go guys! Better late than never!! So happy and excited to hear this!! Hope to see more entries from Pakistan in the future as well! Pakistani TV shows have been doing splendidly, there is sooooo much talen in this country!! Keep it up!! Fingers crossed for the results from now!! :))

  7. I don’t understand why the author thinks the committee has kept its existence quiet- That is not true at all- A public announcement was made via the largest English language newspaper a few weeks ago and as we solicit films for selection another one will be made this week.
    Also, the author assumes one needs the government’s permission to form committees, when we don’t- We just need to be cleared by the Academy Awards committee, which we have been. Perhaps the author should have verified facts before hand.

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