Pakistan’s films and fraternity has been on a roller coaster ride since the very beginning. The process of revival began in 2007 with Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liay’ followed by ‘Bol’ in 2009. The year 2013 was a ground-breaking year for Pakistans Film Industry (PFI) with the release of films like ‘Waar’, ‘Na Maloom Afrad’ and others.
It has not been long since the revival actually started and the viewers started enjoying watching Pakistani movies. The colours and the spirit to support PFI didn’t last long enough to bring the masses to cinema houses, since many poor-quality films came through the years which made the viewers feel unhappy. The roller coaster ride still continues as only two films namely ‘Punjab Nahi Jaungi’ and ‘Na-Maloom Afrad 2’ succeeded to leave a mark on the box office.
Recently a film titled ‘GUMM’ (Lost) caught the attention of people and PFI. Its first poster seemed very intriguing. It was nothing like any other poster of a local film. A simple picture explained the entire concept behind it. While investigating further about the film, it was revealed that ‘GUMM’ has been officially selected in eight international film festivals and has already won five awards. It has been officially selected in AAB International Film Festival in India, CKF International Film Festival in UK, Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA, Lake View International Film Festival in India, London City International Film Festival in UK, Eurasia International Film Festival in Moscow, Russia, and the prestigious Madrid Asia International Film Festival in Spain.
‘GUMM’ has won Best Screenplay & Best Editor from Lake View International Film Festival in India, Best Screenplay & Best Director from London City International Film Festival in UK, and Best Actor (Sami Khan) from Creation International Film Festival in Canada. It has also reached amongst the top finalists in Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA, Eurasia International Film Festival in Moscow, Russia, and Madrid Asia International Film Festival in Madrid, Spain.
It should be mentioned here that all these film festivals are prestigious international platforms for films, where thousands of films compete from around the world and are then selected and awarded on merit. One thing that could be said for sure about ‘GUMM’ is that it is going to be a quality film; a prerequisite to revive our cinema.
The reason behind its international success was none other than its directors, namely, Ammar Lasani and Kanza Zia, who are post-graduates in Filmmaking, and have a solid command over their craft. Everything about this team of two visionary directors reflects creativity. They are determined to go very far. The film has been produced by Shakeel Anjum.
Q & A – Speaking to the Directors
Ammar Lasani & Kanza Zia
Q: Wny in your opinion has the film received so much attention and success on a global scale?
A: Indeed, getting ‘Official Selections’ from eight International Film Festivals, so far, being finalist in three IFFs and winning five awards is no easy task. There are a number of reasons for that: It’s screenplay, calculated shoot, passionate acting, direction, visual storytelling techniques, crisp editing, good teamwork, strong background music, it’s unique look, and so on. Every aspect has to be strong in order to get nominated in international platforms and then to win them. One of the major things which we attribute to the success of ‘GUMM’ is that all its aspects are entirely gelled in. We, as directors, did not let go of the vision that we initially had regarding GUMM and it came out to be exactly how we envisioned it in the conceptual stage. This is our biggest reward. We are hoping to get more awards from international platforms.
Q: When will ‘GUMM’ get screened in the International Film Festivals?
A: Not all festivals have public screenings. Most of the screenings shall take place towards the end of the year. However, Madrid Asia International Film Festival, Spain, shall hold its red carpet event in July. We are honoured to represent ‘GUMM’ and Pakistan in such a prestigious and huge platform.
Q: How long did it take you to complete ‘GUMM’?
A: ‘GUMM’ is our dream project and it took us more than two years to complete it. We have been working on ‘GUMM’ since out post-graduation days. We did not compromise at any end and took our time.
Q: What is the cast of the film?
A: The cast of the film includes Sami Khan, Shamoon Abbasi, Shameen Khan, Anjum Habibi and others. The interesting thing is that they all were the first choices in the characters written, and in the end, they understood their part and performed brilliantly. One of the strong pillars of ‘GUMM’ is the outstanding performances by our lead actors as well as the entire support cast, no matter how small the character was! The Best Actor award to Sami Khan is again a validation for this.
Q: Who is the protagonist & antagonist amongst Sami Khan and Shamoon Abbasi?
A: Well, ‘GUMM’ shall explore the good and bad in all of us. All our characters are in grey, as we all are in real life. It would be unjust to categorize GUMM’s characters in black and white terms.
Q: Does the film have any songs?
A: Well it’s too early to reveal details about the story. All we can tell you is that it has been written by both of us and has already won ‘Best Screenplay’ in two International Film Festivals. Its genre is Action-Thriller, Romantic-Drama. It has a very calculated script written, as per the viewers’ psychology following international standards of filmmaking. About the songs, Yes, ‘GUMM’ has three songs which have been composed by Ustad Raees Ahmed Khan and Zahid Khan Noni.
Q: What were the difficulties you faced while making ‘GUMM’?
A: Our working style is very different from what people are used to of in this industry. There is a lack of technical crew and people right now rarely understand the scope of film, but we will get there gradually. ‘GUMM’ wasn’t impacted by such things because during our journey we were welcomed by far more positivity than negativity. All is well that ends well!
Q: When are the teasers and trailers coming out? When should we expect the release of the film?
A: Well, the film is expected to be released in August. The teasers and trailers shall accordingly come before that. We are very confident about our project since we have been highly recognised internationally, keeping our local viewers in mind. We are expecting even better responses from local cinemas. You are going to love it!