Best Pakistani Short Documentaries 

Written by Rafay Shareef

We have seen a lot of aspiring filmmakers struggling hard to bring attention to Pakistani cinemas. Filmmakers who came up with really good content for the viewers have made it to mainstream cinema by way of short documentaries as well. Portraying the long story in a short film in itself is a difficult task, but they managed to catch the eyes of the viewers. Some even made it to Oscars as well, so here are the best Pakistani Short Documentaries.  

Saving Face: A short documentary director by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, which depicts the heinous culture of acid throwing in Pakistan. Saving Face tells us about the story of a girl who was the survivor of acid throwing and the consequences she has to face to make the main culprit punishable. This short film has also enlightened us regarding the corrupt justice system in Pakistan, through which the citizens of Pakistan have to deal with on regular basis. The hurdles of the victim after surviving such criminal act will leave everyone in shock. This short documentary went on to win the 84th Academy Awards as well and grabbed an Oscar award for the best short documentary is 2012. 

A Girl in The River: This short film is also directed by the only Oscar winner of Pakistan as a director, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. This short documentary highlights the issue of honour killing in Pakistan. The story revolves around a 19 years old girl, Saba who was beaten mercilessly and was thrown into the river because she went against the odds of the society. She married her fiancé whom the family initially accepted but was then rejected as the guy was too poor. But the love between them couldn’t separate them anyhow. After being beaten and thrown by her own dad and her uncle she fought for her life in hospital for many days, and then came back to normal life but she could not come out of that trauma. Unfortunately, the loophole in Pakistani Law which allows the culprit of honour killings to roam free if they are pardoned by the family and the victim. This short documentary made Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy win a second Oscar award in the short documentary category and made her the first Pakistani to win 2 Oscar awards.  

Indus Blues: A film by Jawad Sharif who explored different themes of music and instruments throughout Pakistan. In his short film he has mentioned 9 different musical instruments which are a part of Pakistani cultural heritage. The main motive of this film was to educate the audience regarding the forgotten music of Pakistan. He mentioned that there are some instruments in Pakistan which are so old that there are no craftsmen to make such instruments and there is only a single man in the whole country knows how to play such a instrument. This film has made us realized the loss of our culture and the musical history which we used to have once upon a time.  

Stray Dogs Comes Out at Night: A film written and directed by Hamza Bangash, tells the story of a “Maalishwala” named as Iqbal who was about to go through a HIV-positive diagnosis. This film also revolves around the real issues of our society which we see on daily basis i.e, sexuality and capitalism. The film is based a bit on the director’s life, where he went from toxic masculinity to loneliness which migrants usually face, as Iqbal was a migrant from Punjab. This film has recently made it to 2020 Oscar’s as well as Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. The short film has also been nominated for two awards, Best Live Action Short and Vimeo Staff Pick Award. 

EloA silent Pakistani Short Indie film directed by Wajahat Ali and written and acted by Syed Saad Farrukh. This short film covers the harsh realities of the society. An ambitious young lad steps into his practical life and walks towards his office. But the hurdles he has to face reaching his destination tells us how life can be dubious. As he reaches closer to his destination the things turn more dramatic for him which ends up not allowing him to enter the office as he was late. The protagonist seems to be struggling even though he started off his day with a pleasant smile and confidence, which leaves a message behind that despite of one’s efforts and struggle, bad things can still happen. The short film is quite heart-wrenching and thoughtful.  

These movies have been the best short films from Pakistan and has made it big on the international level. Some of them even created a huge impact on the society. Unfortunately, our audience is still unaware of such master piece because these short film have not been screened yet in Pakistan. We wish to see such short films in near future as well from our aspiring filmmakers who are making Pakistan industry proud globally.