SOC Films, spearheaded by Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, recently releases six short films created by girls part of the flagship program, Siyaani Saheliyan.
The 6-month long collaborative program with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) had earlier culminated with a series of film screenings in South Punjab.
With a campaign like Siyani Sahelian, both SOC Films and ITA aimed to tackle gender inequality for disadvantaged out of school adolescent girls (aged 9 to 19) in three districts of South Punjab, including Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan [ITA hubs]. SOC Films reached out to over 60 towns and villages including ITA hubs for this program.
During the program, SOC Films conducted â€˜Storytelling & Filmingâ€™ workshops with the students. The team at SOC Films, including Safyah Usmani, Murtaza Ali, Sidra Tul Muntaha and Mukarram Khan, spent time teaching students how to create films on mobile phones. The purpose of these workshops was to build the confidence of these girls by training them in film-making. The girls were encouraged to tell personal stories, enabling them to have a voice in society.
315 girls were then divided into small groups where they were given a mobile device and asked to conceptualize, shoot and direct short-films, which were later edited at SOC Films. Many of the young women were able to, for the first time, articulate what their lives were like focusing on their hopes and dreams for their villages, towns and for Pakistan. Over 75 short films were created out of the workshops and 40 were later exhibited in Muzzaffargarh, Rahimyar Khan and Bhawalpur.
As part of the workshop SOC Films also showed 3 films; Freedom Fighters, Rising Stars and Girl in the River on its fully equipped mobile cinema.
SOC Films has released the following six short films from the program and they can be viewed on YouTube:
- The Lone Warrior by the Diamond Group which focused on sexual violence at home.
- My Fight for Women Rights by the Geo Sir Utha Kai Group which highlighted how an incident of gang rape inspired a little girl to become a human rights activist when she grows up.
- My Mother My Hero by the Lucky Group.
- I will be a Fighter Pilot by the Star Group which focused on a girlsâ€™ dream of joining the air force.
- When I Grow Up by the Khwabon Ki Duniya Group which highlighted a girls dream of becoming a doctor.
- I Have ConfidenceÂ by the Self-Confidence Group focusing on girls who want to join the police force.
Talking about the initiative, Sharmeen Obaid shared: â€œIt is important for girls to have a voice in society. These workshops encouraged hundreds of young girls to articulate their hopes and dreams. It enabled them to learn new skills and for many it was the first time that they had shared how they felt about their place in society. The end result is a window in their lives, the stories range from human rights and abuse to hopeful aspirations and their dreams.â€