How does it feel to be a few days away from the release of your first feature film?It depends on the time of the day. There are moments when we are excited and moments when we are anxious. At times, we feel very confident and, at others, we worry about the reception our film will get at the box office. We will say that we have a very good feeling about ‘Gumm’ and feel that the effort, energy and love that we have put into making the film has paid rich dividends in the form of a well-made, entertaining and engaging thriller. We are hopeful that the audience will like the film and make it the commercial and critical success we want it to be. We have our fingers crossed. Gumm has won a number of awards at film festivals all over the world.Yes, it has and the number of nominations and awards is unprecedented in the history of Pakistani Cinema. ‘Gumm’ was nominated for fifteen major awards at several international festivals including the AAB International Film Festival in India, CKF International Film Festival in the United Kingdom, Festigious International Film Festival in Los Angeles, USA, Lake View International Film Festival in India, Creation International Film Festival in Canada, London City International Film Festival in the United Kingdom, Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival in Moscow, Russia, and the prestigious Madrid Asia International Film Festival in Spain. It has won seven awards -Best Screenplay and Best Editor at the Lake View International Film Festival in India, Best Screenplay and Best Director at the London City International Film Festival in the United Kingdom, Best Actor (Sami Khan) at the Creation International Film Festival in Canada, Best Screenplay and Best Actor (Sami Khan) at the Madrid Asia International Film Festival. Why did you decide to make the film as a team?There is a saying in Urdu – Eik Aur Aik Giyarah – which, loosely translated, means that one plus one adds up to eleven when the two work well together and the two of us certainly work well with each other. We are very different as filmmakers, with different areas of strength, skill and expertise. Fortunately, these areas are complementary and come together like pieces of a puzzle when we work together. We believe that we actually did the work of eleven people put together because of the understanding we have with each other. I hope we don’t sound arrogant when we say so but feel that the two of us make a winning team. How did you come up with the idea of ‘Gumm’?We are serious filmmakers who take our jobs very seriously, so we wanted to make something concrete. The two of us have a great fascination for human relationships and believe that cinema is a great forum to explore them in all their complexity, beauty and charm. We started on ‘Gumm’ with the aim of telling a moving story, centered around strong, flushed-out characters and their relationships. We are staunch environmentalists and wanted to tell a story that highlighted the plight of our planet. Environmentalism made a great backdrop for the story that we wanted to tell with ‘Gumm’?We feel that the film will open new avenues for the Pakistani film industry by encouraging our filmmakers to make films for both domestic and international audiences. ‘Gumm’ is an experience in itselfHow different is ‘Gumm’ from the film that you had envisioned originally?One of the many things we are proud of is the answer to this question. It is not different at all. We made the exact film that we had envisioned originally. We believe that the amount of planning and preparation that went into getting ready for ‘Gumm’ ensured the faithful realisation of our vision. There were times when challenges and difficulties made this hard, but we never gave in and never compromised. We had a film in mind and we were determined to make it. We are glad that we succeeded.What part of making a film did you enjoy the most?The best part of it is making the film itself. From the conception of an idea till the exhibition, filmmaking comprises of hundreds of complicated processes and stages. We thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. Pre-production, production, post-production and distribution, we love our job. An idea pops up in your mind, it is then translated in words and characters are developed which then talk to each other, shaping the story and turning it around, thus resulting in a moving picture. ?What do you think of ‘Gumm’ as a film?‘Gumm’ has a universal appeal. ‘Gumm’ is an intelligent, sensitive and a nuanced exploration of familial relationships. It has drama, thrills, romance, and comedy. It tells a poignant story that is engaging, real, relatable interesting and entertaining. It makes a strong emotional impact and gives viewers food for thought. It uniquely meets international filmmaking standards. We feel that the film will open new avenues for the Pakistani film industry by encouraging our filmmakers to make films for both domestic and international audiences. ‘Gumm’ is an experience in itself.The quality and content of Pakistani films is often attributed to the demands of the country’s filmgoers. What do Pakistani audiences want?Pakistan is a diverse country with cinemagoers who watch films of all genres from Bollywood, Hollywood and various other film industries. They want Pakistani film industry to discover its own genre and style with unique content and good quality that is relatable to them as well as entertaining and worth watching. They want quality engaging films that let them experience life on a larger scale.Should filmmakers worry about what filmgoers want?Yes, definitely. Since cinema is a medium for the masses, so, either a filmmaker should worry about what a filmgoer wants or the filmgoer will stop worrying about the filmmaker’s creation. The opinion and feedback of a filmmaker should be very important for a filmmaker. You don’t expect to make a film that’s not for your target audience.Do filmmakers need to be responsible for finding, nurturing and grooming filmgoers?In today’s time, a filmgoer is exposed to all sorts of information, hence, making them very intelligent. We can’t underestimate them. So, in our opinion, the filmgoers nurture and groom the filmmakers rather than it being the other way around. Subconsciously, a filmmaker has a margin to maneuver, however, in-the-face lectures don’t work now!What are the attributes of a good filmmaker and how does one develop them?A good filmmaker is a successful storyteller who convinces the viewers to live through a story as if it was their own. This requires patience, creativity, imagination, hard work…you name it. The one thing that develops all these attributes is passion to tell a story.?Have you started thinking about your next film?Yes. We work in a very systematic and disciplined way. We plan way ahead of time. We have several screenplays written already. The one we will be working on immediately after Gumm is a rom-com, that is based on a very unique topic and strong storyline, titled ‘Poppayki Wedding’.Ally Adnan lives in Dallas and writes about culture, history and the arts. He tweets @allyadnan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, January 7th 2019.