Cannes, 1 June 2022 (TDI): Seemab Gul and Abid Aziz Merchant from Pakistan completed the La Fabrique de Cinéma program in Cannes with other emerging filmmakers and producers from across the world.

Haven Of Hope

A Pakistani Film Project about three abandoned women gained recognition at Cannes Festival. That is; ‘Haven Of Hope’ is part of the ten projects selected by La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut français.

The story of Haven of Hope revolves around three Pakistani women abandoned by their families at a women’s asylum, Panah Khana.

In 2011, Seemab worked as an interpreter and field producer on a documentary about the safe houses run by humanitarian Abdus Sattar Edhi and Bilquis Edhi, called ‘The Kingdom of Mister Edhi’.

Seemab said that at the time she was struck by the strength and resilience of the women she met. As a result, the idea brewed for a while in her mind.

Thus, the real script was written last summer, and later on, Seemab applied to the Venice Biennale College Cinema, which chooses and develops nine microfilm projects and three are also produced by Venice.

In addition to this, the project won Rotterdam’s Hubert Bals Fund Script as well as Project Development Support. Which offered it a financial lifeline, thereby it will be the first Pakistani feature film to apply for the competitive Cinema Du Monde funding.

La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut français

La Fabrique Cinéma de l’Institut français is a program tailored to promote filmmakers from emerging countries. As well as permitting them to attend and interact with French producers at Cannes.

Because of La Fabrique, and the Cinema Du Monde CNC funding, Haven of Hope had the ability to enter advanced production. At the moment it is at the financing stage, and that is where the chance of being present at Cannes turned into a game-changer.

More to this, La Fabrique offers the filmmakers access to French producers that can subsequently help fund the films.

Seemab Gul and Abid Aziz Merchant

Seemab Gul is the writer and the director of the film that will be produced by Sanat Initiative’s Abid Aziz Merchant. Previously, both of them worked together and ultimately made a short film called Sandstorm.

Whereby it was officially chosen for the Venice Film Festival in 2021 as well as Sundance in 2022. Following this, they continue working together as shown by Haven of Hope.

Seemab highlighted her reason for going to the different festivals and labs.  In that, it is about visibility and bringing Pakistani cinema to an international stage and audience. Also, Abid has enjoyed prestige at one of the world’s best film festivals.

Thus, from South By So West, to Sundance. All in all, Seemab and Abid are content with the funding provided by festivals. As they are united in their desire of avoiding interference at the hands of their investors.

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