ARY Digital Network set forth the 1st ARY Film Festival which ended on 7th of May, 2017 with a star-studded closing night hosted by the multitalented Faysal Qureshi and the beautiful Madiha Imam. The event was attended by the top celebrities and personalities of the media and film industry. Amazing performances by Sheema Kirmani, Sanam Marvi and Hamza Qawwal along with a stand-up comedy act by the social media star Danish Ali.
The 3 day festival screened 33 films, which were shortlisted from around 400 entries received from all over the world. The jury included local and international award winning filmmakers, writers and media personalities such as Anwar Maqsood, Khalil Nainitalwala, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Marilyn Agrelo, Ram Kishore Parcha, John Gann, Andy Merkin, Jack McDonald and Amna Khan.
The festival also came up with special screenings of internationally acclaimed films such as Maheen Zia’s ‘Lyari Notes’, ‘Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velazquez Story’ contributed by the American Film Showcase and Anjum Shehzad’s ‘Mah e Mir’. Additionally, Academy award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s ‘Song of Lahore’ was also premiered at the festival.
Award for Best Story Feature Film was given to ‘Choora Ek Pratha’ and Best Short Film (Silver Category) to ‘Amrita and I’, both were screened in collaboration with Delhi International Film Festival. Serajus Salikin won the award for Best Short Documentary for his film ‘Masters of the Sky’; whereas award for Best Director Short Documentary goes to Ali Ijaz for ‘Pangolins in Peril’.
‘In Search of America’ won the award for Best Short Film (Gold Category); Syed Fazal Hussain won the award of Best Actor (Short Film) for ‘Dil Tau Bacha Hai’. Best Documentary Feature award was given to ‘K2 and The Invisible Footmen’ and Maheen Zia’s ‘Lyari Notes’ won the Red Category Excellence in Documentary Feature. Purple Category Excellence in Documentary Feature was given to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy for her film ‘Song of Lahore’. Anjum Shehzad’s ‘Mah e Mir’ won the award for Best Film – Feature.
Mr. Salman Iqbal, President and Founder, ARY Digital Network, in his message about the festival said “It has been our primary objective since the establishment of ARY Films to develop and foster the film industry in Pakistan. We have now embarked on yet another journey with the first ARY Film Festival, whereby we will provide a break to new and creative filmmakers from Pakistan and around the world to come showcase their talent and get known for their efforts. This is our first year for the festival and we intend to make it bigger and better in the years to come”.
Presented by Italiano and powered by Rooh Afza, the ARY Film Festival did special collaborations with American Film Showcase and Delhi International Film Festival. It was held from 4th to 6th May 2017 at the Cinepax Cinemas, Ocean Mall Karachi.