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11 Jun

Hamza Bangash’s short film heads to virtual Palm Springs ShortFest 2020

Hamza Bangash

Finally some good news in a sea of depressing announcements; Pakistani short film by Hamza Bangash — Stray Dogs Come Out at Night — is heading to the digital edition of Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films 2020.

The director took to Instagram to make the big announcement.

“Palm Springs baby. In the garbage bag of fire that is 2020, we got some good news and we’re gonna celebrate it!” he wrote.

The short film has been nominated for two awards as part of the festival including Best Live Action Short 15 Minutes and Vimeo Staff Pick Award. Hamza is excited as this is going to be his first theatrical screening in the US.

“This would have been my first theatrical screening in the US, and is also my first festival selection in the States. The last time I applied for Palm Springs International Film Festival was in 2015, and promptly rejected. Working on my craft, and here 5 years later! Take your time,” he wrote sharing his experience.



Stray Dogs Come Out at Night is an 11-minute long Punjabi short which revolves around the life of Iqbal (played by Mohammad Ali Hashmi), a maalishwala (masseur) by profession, who cannot come to terms with his illness. He convinces his uncle Khurrum, essayed by Adnan Shah Tipu, to take a day trip to the beach, desperate for respite.



Talking about resorting to a virtual film festival this year, Hamza appreciated the efforts of the Palm Springs team.

“So grateful to the Palm Springs team for continuing to celebrate films + filmmakers, and for how they pivoted to a virtual festival. It’s a tough time for everyone, but man, I want to take this moment to talk about how great they/ their team have been. They offered us a full refund for our submission fee, didn’t pressure us to have a virtual premiere (which we opted out from, for various reasons), and still included us in their programming. Great people, and I hope one day, I’ll get to attend IRL. In the meantime, LAURELS,” Hamza wrote.

Read: Hamza Bangash’s film bags first prize at the Busan International Film Festival

Earlier Hamza’s debut feature film, Mariam has won the MPA-AFA award at Busan International Film Festival 2019. He also has award-winning film like Dia to his credit. Hamza is also the first Pakistani who had the world premiere of this short film at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in January 2020.

These are tough times and any news that uplifts our spirits is welcome. As Hamza rightfully said, “Congrats to my whole team, everything sucks right now, so let’s enjoy this.”

The virtual film fest will he held from 16th to 22nd June, 2020. On June 21st, winners will be announced from a curated line-up and presented with awards and cash prizes worth $25,000 including five Academy Award-qualifying awards.


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