Focuspk16 the Entertainment & Production Conference
By Saboohi Currim
The reemergence of the visual entertainment arts in Pakistan after a long period of financial and artistic hibernation was celebrated by the industry group Focuspk16 with a star studded conference in Karachi on December 2 and 3, 2016 at the Beach Luxury Hotel.
Led by AtiqaOdho Chairperson of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Focuspk16 was Pakistan’s first Production and Entertainment Conference showcasing the entire business of Entertainment: Film, TV, Theater, Radio, Print and Digital.
The program put together by the organizers of Focuspk16 was exceptional. Concurrent presentations on Scripting/Storytelling hosted by the likes of HaseenaMoin, Bushra Ansari, Ali Imran, etc . went head to head with presentations on Theater with SheemaKirmani, Salman Shahid and Jamal Shah. The packed halls of the iconic hotel, which had seen its heydays in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, was symbolic of the return of the Pakistani cinema and entertainment which had also peaked in the same era as the Beach Luxury Hotel.
The two-day program had offerings for every type of entertainment industry professional. Sessions were offered on Parallel Cinema vs. Commercial Cinema, Film Festivals and Documentaries, Censorship Policies in Pakistan and the Marketing of Ideas by producers to investors. The government departments concerned with Ministry of State Information & Broadcasting were also present encouraging participants to make productions that presented Pakistan in a “softer” light than has been the norm.
One of the most interesting presentations was the one dealing with Film Festivals in Pakistan. The renowned producer UsmaanPeerzada spoke about the exceptional international film festival that he had hosted in Lahore for many years until a bomb blast in 2008 put an end to the annual event. Other speakers that discussed the importance of Film Festivals for exposure of new talent to the public were veteran movie producer SabihaSumar (producer of KhamoshPaani) and journalist Fifi Haroon. The audience was also treated to a series of short films produced by the brand Sensodyne that funds the production of the series “everyday heroes” that highlight the endeavors of individuals that are doing exceptional things for their communities.
Focuspk16 has been a memorable event sponsored by the media industry of Pakistan in an effort to coordinate and connect people working in various fields within the industry.