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Censor board prohibits Face Film Festival from screening another film

Censor board prohibits Face Film Festival from screening another film

ISLAMABAD: Another film that was to be screened at the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (Face) Film Festival 2016 was banned by the censor board for being ‘anti-state’.

The festival was not allowed to screen Besieged in Quetta, a film by independent filmmaker Asef Ali Mohammad which shed light on the plight of the city’s Hazara population.

The censor board’s letter says the film “promoted ethnicity and sectarianism (sic!)”.

Earlier, the board had also stopped the festival organisers from screening Among the Believers.

In a letter, the vice chairman of the censor board, Adnan Akram Bajwa, described the award winning documentary Among the Believers as “unsuitable” for public exhibition.

The letter, which is available with Dawn, reads: “It also contains dialogues, which project a negative image of Pakistan in the context of fighting the ongoing war against extremism and terrorism.”

Produced by Hemal Trivedi and directed by Mohammad Ali Naqvi, the documentary follows the Lal Masjid and its network of seminaries, as well as two students, and contains comments from the controversial Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Anam Abbas, the director of the film festival, said the documentary has already been screened in over a dozen countries, and has won multiple awards.

“The censor board did not agree with the politics of the film, and argued that the documentary revived a dead issue,” Ms Abbas said.

According to Face president Zeejah Fazli: “The censor board could have allowed us to show the version of these films that was acceptable to them. Completely banning the films is discouraging for filmmakers who want to show the truth.”

Bill Megalos said: “Being able to tell a story using sounds, music and images is new literacy and the most effective way to get the message across.”

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