KARACHI: Working day and night for around 12 days, journalists from Pakistan and Afghanistan have jointly produced two videos and two audio documentaries.
The project was a part of a two-week-long training on documentary-making for human rights and peace building held at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) at the Institute of Business Administration. The training was sponsored by Sonia Ristic and Zoran Culafic from Fondation Hirondelle.
The two-week-long course was supported by the Embassy of Switzerland, International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights, Geneva, Fondation Hirondelle and United Nations (UN).
To show the documentaries made by the participants, a screening was organised by the CEJ in which the characters of the documentaries, trainers and participants presented their work.
Training on making documentaries and the idea of involving journalist from Afghanistan along with Pakistanis came when Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan Marc George realised, on his visit to Afghanistan, there was a trust deficit in information sharing. “That is where the initial idea was developed,” said George.
UN Information Centre Director in Islamabad Vittorio Cammarota, during the panel discussion, spoke about how six month ago George shared the idea of making documentaries involving Pakistani and Afghan journalists with him. “We took the idea forward to promote peace, human rights and socio-economic development,” he said, adding that the participants have produced work on minorities and child rights.
Cammarota said, in order to make such practices sustainable, they are planning to bring in Indian filmmakers in the future. “We can try and communicate the idea,” he added.
Meanwhile, George also said that they should make it possible to screen the work produced through this project in Afghanistan as well.
Ristic, one of the trainers, said producing such work in a short time was difficult as they started working two weeks before the project started in Karachi. “Making a documentary is not easy but we can change society with documentaries,” she added.
The participants submitted their proposals for the documentaries before the workshop started, after which Ristic and Culafic counseled them on how to proceed with their ideas.
Tamana Ayazi, representing Pakistan, made a 10-minute-long documentary titled ‘Bahali’, which showed the similarities between Karachi’s people and structure and those of Kandahar, Jalalabad.
Bahali was a motivational story of three children who gave up drugs and started a new life. Other documentaries were on a family with disabilities, while the radio documentaries were on child labour and the issues faced by transgender persons while finding jobs. –Courtesy The Express Tribune

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