Amtul Baweja, a Pakistani actress, comedian, and co-founder of Patangeer, who also takes on the lead role in the short film "Solatia," expressed her immense excitement about the film's acceptance into the upcoming Red Sea Film Festival in Jeddah next month.
In an interview with Arab News, Baweja stated, "I’m very, very excited because it happens to be our first submission, and of course, getting selected on your first submission is, I think, a win in itself."
Directed by Pakistani filmmaker Hira Yousafzai and co-produced by Hirra Farooqi, "Solatia" will be in competition with entries from Germany, Indonesia, the US, Iran, and South Africa at this prestigious festival.
The short film's storyline revolves around Zamda, portrayed by Baweja, a displaced woman residing in a shelter with others. The film captures her yearning for her missing husband as she looks through old photos, portraying the profound emotions of longing and loss.
Reflecting on the short film and her character, Baweja shared, "As soon as I read the script, I was like, 'Okay, I need to do this, I need to make this happen. I want to do this.' And I think wherever this film will be played, people will relate to it."
She further described Zamda as a strong character, noting, "Despite losing everything, Zamda is a strong character. You can see from the start that Zamda is a very, very strong woman. She’s not afraid to stand up for what’s right."
Hirra Farooqi, a first-generation Canadian immigrant with Afghan-Pakistani roots, emphasized the need to humanize the stories of immigrants. She explained, "We wanted to humanize their stories by tying in these themes of hope, love, loss, resilience, through the characters and through the compassion that they feel for one another."
Baweja's "Solatia" is one of only two Pakistani short films and a total of 14 entries competing in the Red Sea: Shorts Competition during the festival's third edition, scheduled to take place in Jeddah from November 30 to December 9.
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