Two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has announced Pakistan’s largest filmmaking grant for women, PKR 1 Crore, under the funding and mentorship platform, PATAKHA PICTURES. Launched in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi [ITA] and the U.S. Consulate General Karachi, this is PATAKHA PICTURES’ third funding and mentorship program, “Stories from Southern Pakistan”. Filmmakers from US and Scotland have been brought in as mentors for the program. PATAKHA PICTURES was launched to empower and support a new generation of female Pakistani filmmakers who wish to create engaging films that reflect on and question their society on themes such as women empowerment, violence against women and minorities, arts, culture, climate change and peace-building. For the first grant launched in February 2022, 10 female filmmakers worked in pairs for 12 weeks to develop their creative skills and create five short films. All of these films are currently screening across global film festivals, with two films winning international awards. For the second grant, one documentary filmmaker was selected as a Taiwan Pitch Pakistan Fellow Grantee, and received 10,000 USD in funding to participate in the “Talent Village” workshop held in Taiwan, and create a short non-fiction film. For the third newest grant, Stories from Southern Pakistan, for which applications will open on November 6, 2022, 20 emerging filmmakers, working in pairs, will be given a grant of up to PKR 1 million per pair to create 10 short documentaries (10-20 minutes in duration). As part of the mentorship process, Patakha Pictures will support, nurture and develop fellows’ creative skills, thus enabling grantees to reach new local and international audiences through their work. “I have been so inspired by the success of Patakha Pictures’ funding programs, especially as many of our fellows’ films are being screened and receiving accolades internationally. At this groundbreaking juncture therefore, I feel extremely proud to be launching our third and largest-ever funding program for female filmmakers in Pakistan. We know that this funding is critical for filmmakers to realise their filmmaking dreams, and this time around we’re making a special effort to recruit women from smaller towns and villages in Sindh and Balochistan.” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Interested female filmmakers, domiciled in Sindh and Balochistan, can apply for this program at: https://socfilms.com/index.php/patakha-pictures/. Applicants must apply in pairs. The application period is open from November 6-25, 2022. The workshops will commence in January 2023. The training program will take place from January until August 2023 with twice-a-month virtual workshops. The workshops will be made up of a mixture of seminars and consultant-led advice sessions by international experts. This mentorship will entail sessions that would include – but not be limited to – storytelling, developing narratives and characters, directing, sound design and editing, followed by a gathering for an intensive week in Karachi to finalize the editing of the films with a closing event in September 2023 that will celebrate and mark the successful completion of production of films created by our fellows. “Gender Equality is all about generating transformative capabilities for emerging female filmmakers from Pakistan; those selected on open merit will have unique opportunities to visualize and share stories within and beyond borders, and nurture excellence and creativity; this would not have been possible without the generous grant of the U.S. Consulate General Karachi and the ever-vibrant partnership of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (SOC)” said Baela Raza Jamil of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi [ITA]”. “We are glad to announce yet another initiative of the US Mission to Pakistan to develop the capacity of the film industry in Pakistan with the objective to promote women empowerment and drive economic growth while improving the cultural ties between the two countries. This project is a great way to discover the true potential and the talent in this country. The United States is a great market for Pakistani media and by training more filmmakers, we look to empower more Pakistanis to tell the story of this beautiful country and strengthen our people-to-people ties.” said Public Diplomacy Officer, Anastasia Kolivas from the US Consulate in Karachi. This project was funded by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State PATAKHA PICTURES is an initiative by SOC Films.