DUBAI: A short film on sexual harassment at the workplace, made by a Dubai-based Pakistani film maker and director, is in the running for the Dubai Lynx Awards, which celebrate “creative excellence” in the MENA region.
The film, “I am a speaker for 509,” has been directed by Anwar Al Amin, founder of Film House, and made in collaboration with BBDO, an advertising agency based in Pakistan, as well as WISE (Women in Struggle for Empowerment), a Pakistan-based non-governmental organization formed in 2011 and led by Bushra Khaliq.
“The idea was conceived by BBDO and we got WISE on board since they empower women in Pakistan and raise awareness on the issue,” Anwar told Arab News on Thursday.
The film, starring Pakistani actors Ghana Ali and Fawad Jalal, shows a female model who is seeking work and is asked by a director to meet him in private rather than at a studio, with promises that she will be cast in a film. It ends with a tea boy speaking up against sexual harassment and encouraging others to do so as well.
“We were in the midst of releasing the film when the pandemic happened but now it is the right time to give it another push,” Amin said. “We have also submitted the film for some awards.”
On February 3, the film was submitted to the Dubai Lynx Awards. In reply to questions by Arab News, Lynx Awards said that they only could “help provide jury quotes for any film that wins. Winners will be announced at the beginning of April.”
“Our idea basically is to enhance the image of Pakistan in the international market. There is a very wrong perception of Pakistan and it is viewed as a state where there are no rights for women,” Amin said, explaining why he had focused on taking the film to the international market instead of Pakistani audiences.
In January this year, the film was also listed among the top five socially responsible ads worldwide by Adforum which recognizes the best ad films in the world based on their execution and creativity. The director was listed among the top five worldwide and the film was also an Editor’s Pick for February.
“Pakistan is a male dominated society and we are facing centuries old patriarchal structures here, so the impact of this on women’s daily life is very much obvious,” Khaliq said. “Every day women complain about these issues and we wanted to create more awareness around this.”