Today’s post is an advertisement of sorts. I am part of a worldwide community of people who share one thing in common: Everyone of us grew up in Pakistan. We have gone to the ends of the earth from our beginnings and our ideologies are sometimes at odds, but there is a fierce loyalty and an unspoken resolution to give each other the clichéd ‘benefit of the doubt‘. All of us experienced a Pakistan that is starkly different from the written word of newspapers and the graphic pictures of network television. We know there is far more to Pakistan than assassinations, terrorism, and political instability but others see only these pictures, their voices loudly incredulous “You were raised WHERE?” and shake their heads in disbelief when our voices respond in a sometimes tepid defense. And that brings me to the point of my post.
A documentary film now in production hopes to bring a different view to the world of Pakistan and her people. Called “Without Shepherds“, the film follows the lives of six Pakistani men and women. While there are stars in the film (Imran Khan – famous cricketer turned politician; Vaneeza Ahmed – famous model and celebrity; and Arieb Azhar– a Sufi and folk music artist) there are also others like a truck driver and a female journalist designed to add perspective from working people and tell their stories.
The American filmmaker, Cory McClelland, knew he and his team were outsiders much in need of the help of Pakistanis so they worked side by side with Pakistani film crews, journalists, consultants, and researchers from Karachi to Peshawar. This team effort allowed them to get the stories and content that they felt would show a “country full of paradoxes”. He made this statement in an interview with the International Herald Tribune:
“he saw Pakistan as an ‘ideal country to explore. From a distance, it seemed to be a country of paradoxes — somehow between democracy and dictatorship, peace and war, secular and religious. I relished the idea of doing something that would cut against the typical tropes in the headlines, and spoke from a more intimate connection to the communities there. It seemed the question of ‘where is Pakistan going’ would be more pivotal to the region than any other. Hopefully, we can add some much-needed balance and humanity to the discussion.'”
“Without Shepherds” has had to stall production because of lack of funds. From the trailer to the press kit everything I have seen about this film tells me it is worth supporting. I believe it is an important piece to bridging a knowledge gap and communicating real stories of people in Pakistan, stories that my extended TCK community from Pakistan know, but others don’t. Take a look and see what you think!
“The arts have tremendous potential to balance out this paranoia by promoting humanism and presenting context,” ~ Cory McClelland