Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2011 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project FE Chaudhry’s Pakistan
Category DMZ Fund
Project FE Chaudhry’s Pakistan
Director Mazhar Zaidi
Country Pakistan
Director's Profile Mazhar Zaidi is a Karachi-based independent filmmaker and journalist. He has produced and directed several documentaries that have screened at international film festivals, including Himal South Asia Nepal 2007 and South Asian International Film Festival, New York. His last film, [Nar Narman], was screened at the National Film Theatre in London BFI L&G Film Festival in 2007. In 2001 he co-directed the documentary [Now, That's More Like A Man], which was part of the UNICEF and Save the Children South Asia Masculinities Film Project. In 1999-2000, he co-founded and ran the independent film and media house Matteela from Lahore, Pakistan. He was also involved in organizing Pakistan’s first Documentary Film Festival in Lahore (1999).
In [FE Chaudhry’s Pakistan], Christians and Hindus lived without fear, women rode to work on bikes and local bars served German beer. This is a film that re-imagines Pakistan through the images and words of Faustin Elmer Chaudhry, a 102-year-old Pakistani Christian photojournalist. Be it in the process of ‘Islamisation’ of Lahore’s public spaces by municipal authorities in the 1950s, the machinations of military dictators of the 1960-70s, or the struggles of the Christian minority in an Islamic State, Chaudhry’s iconic photographs and his detailed ‘back-stories’ to these photographs help us piece together the story of his life and the life of Pakistan.
Director's Note
In a country where history has always been subject to a state-sponsored ‘ideology,’ FE Chaudhry’s images tell of a story that has been missing from Pakistani textbooks. These stories are significant as they offer us an alternative perspective on Pakistan’s political history, as ‘small’ events are usually erased from ‘big’ histories. In this work, the story of a 102-year-old Christian photojournalist, his archive of memories and history is priceless and elicits an urgent documentation. Moreover, there has never been a more pressing need to put on record the enormous contribution of the Christian community to the making of Pakistan through figures such as FE Chaudhry.
Still Cut