Running Time: 72 minutes
BEYOND BORDERS━━━Focus on Pakistan
Human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community are under pressure in many territories outside the regions covered by our festival. Violations of these rights range from subtle discrimination to torture, imprisonment, or even the death penalty. With this in mind, we decided to launch a new section, that we appropriately called Beyond Borders, in an attempt to make justice of this arbitrary contradiction and to highlight cinematic efforts outside the scope of the SWANA region. To kick off this inaugural segment, we invited Pakistani filmmaker Zarrar Kahn (previously known as Hamza Bangash) to help us curate the program, focusing on contemporary Pakistani cinema.
Fueled by artistic expression, the short films featured in the program spotlighting queer Pakistani cinema transcend traditional storytelling. From documentary, narrative, or genre, the abbreviated form offers these singular voices a chance to explore, engage and open alternative worlds—full of queer joy, trauma, and perseverance. Consider these short films as love letters written in secret, to be shared sometimes as whispers, or sometimes shouted from rooftops. As a snapshot of queer life in Pakistan, as well as a testament to the growing independent arts scene, these films are a promise of a new wave of cinema—one that is brimming with hope.
Zarrar Kahn is a Karachi-born, Toronto-based writer and director. His films have been featured in festivals worldwide, including TIFF, Locarno and London FF. He is excited about creating and championing cinema that explores the joy and trauma of lives lived on the margins.