The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee has selected “Mah-e-Mir” to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 89th Academy Awards. The movie was selected by way of a secret ballot and was the overwhelming film of choice of the Committee members.
As per standard practice, films selected by each individual country’s Academy selection committee are submitted to the Academy for screening, shortlisting and voting with official Oscar nominees announced at a later date.
In 2013, the Pakistani Academy Selection Committee selected “Zinda Bhaag” as the first Pakistani film in over fifty years to be submitted for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category, followed by “Dukhtar” in 2014 and “Moor” in 2015.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will choose the final nominees for all award categories including Best Foreign Language Film in January 2017. The complete and final list of Oscar nominees will be announced on 24th January 2017 with the presentation show for the 89th Academy Awards scheduled to take place on 26th February 2017. 81 films were submitted for Oscar consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards held earlier this year.
The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee was chaired by two-time Academy Award and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy which included Iram Parveen Bilal as the charge d’affaires, Zeba Bakhtiar, Adnan Siddiqui, Hasan Zaidi, Sheema Kermani, Sarmad Khoosat, Jamshed Mahmood Raza, Jamil Dehlavi and Adnan Sarwar.
‘Mah-e-Mir’, directed by Anjum Shahzad and written by Sarmad Sehbai, is set in contemporary times which chronicles the life of a young anarchist poet while denouncing tradition, goes through the sufferings of love, separation and poverty which drives him into madness, where he discovers the 18th century poet Meer Taqi Meer. In his poetic journey he embodies the intense love, passion and creative madness of the poet. The film features Fahad Mustafa, Iman Ali, Sanam Saeed, Alyy Khan and Manzar Sehbai.
Speaking about the selection of Mah-e-Mir, the members have said:
Iram Bilal Parveen (Charge D’affaires of Committee):
“I am very pleased to see that we are sending a quality film to the Academy Awards for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for the fourth consecutive year. After decades of neglect, it is a matter of great pride that the Pakistani film industry has achieved so much in such brief time and speaks volumes for the inherent artistic talent of our people. I wish the makers of Mah-e-Mir the best of luck in their journey through the shortlisting process and thank them for their contribution to Pakistani cinema.”
“I am thrilled by the news. For an ensemble of extremely creative cast and crew this film is a labor of love. Each one of us is proud to be a part of it. I would like to thank the committee for considering our effort worthy of representation and would like to take this opportunity to thank the media, cinema owners and above all the audiences for supporting us”
“Mah-e-Mir is tedious and dark and these aren’t bad qualities for a film to have.”
Jamshed Mahmood Raza’s (Jami):
“After a long time I can say I’ve seen one of the best looking films out of Pakistan’s cinema ‘Mah-e-Mir’.”
“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent Pakistan on such a prestigious platform. We are humbled by the opportunity. We don’t know how far this little film will go, but looking at previous nominations from Pakistan, we feel proud to be part of such a great company.”
“With its indulging cinematography and romanticism of the forgotten value of literature, Mah-e-Mir’s characters and plot nostalgically captured the culture and struggle of the artist, both by and in its creation. We are very excited to put it forth as a sample of Pakistan’s rising standards of cinema.“
“When Manzar Sehbai Sahib’s character comes to meet the poet (Fahad Mustafa), and he talks about his understanding of literature, and Urdu literature in particular, that was the crux, the heart and soul of the movie for me“.