Formed in 2008, Vasakh hosted its 10th film festival in Lahore at Ali Auditorium. A project of Interactive Resource Centre and Maati TV, Vasakh aims at sensitizing the masses towards the concerns of human rights, gender equality, citizenship equality and religious tolerance through short films and documentaries. Vasakh is a platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their works and make it accessible to the larger masses. The 10th Vasakh Film Festival showcases films from around Pakistan, India, USA and Myanmar. The first day of the festival began with a pre film, something I hadn’t heard of before, it is when some of the people have showed up but some are still stuck in traffic so to entertain those present you show them a pre film. This pre film was a short one by Anubha Jain from India and was about three extraordinary women and their story as narrated by them about being an unmarried woman in India. All three of whom had one thing in common, an unwavering belief in their own happiness for which they would never compromise. The first film of the night was Major Gulfam Shaheed, by the IRC team. It was a tribute to Major Gulfam from Parachinar, a Shia soldier, who lost his life fighting extremism in Pakistan. A series of memories from a mother’s heart, a father’s pride, a brother’s childhood, all that brought Major Gulfam Shaheed to life like he never left. 100 Second Chances, the second film, was a really short one of just five minutes but exceptionally well shot and put together. About prisoners re-entering society after prison and second chances that all of deserve and equally. Parsis in Lahore, the third film and a personal favourite, was a beautifully made one not because of its technological soundness (which it was) but because of the honesty and sincerity with which it was made and which it reflected. About the small and diminishing Parsi community of Lahore, the film had various accounts of Parsi people, their history and the question of their future. Having personally obsessed over the religion and the community, this film was everything and more that I needed. I’m Fine, an NCA thesis, cleared many misconceptions that people have regarding mental illnesses and also, towards the end, about what should be done if you or anyone near you is suffering from any mental illness. Whirling in the Dark, by Gulnar Tabassum of Shirkat Gah, a beautiful film shot across Pakistan aiming at religious tolerance and freedom of expression and the various ways it can be done and no one way being wrong. Beautiful Sufi music sung in the rawest voices in the most beautiful parts of Pakistan. The last film of the night, Nusrat Ara: Fakhr-e-Mardan, was an insight into the life of Nusrat Ara of Mardan, a woman having spent all her life for the welfare of women in the shuttlecock burkha clad Mardan. She continues to work despite threats and obvious challenges and continues to amaze. An overwhelming collection of short films, varied subjects and an extraordinary host team, the first of the 10th Vasakh Film Festival was an absolute joy to attend. The second day of the festival will start today, in the evening at 5.30pm. Make sure to head on over to Ali Institute on Ferzopur Road near Gulab Devi Hospital today for an amazing collection of short films/documentaries that would touch your heart.