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THE MERMAID AND OTHER WATER STORIES

Friday 5 June 2015 
AfK - Conference Hall - 7:00 pm
Documentary

Documentaries by Nameera Ahmed
Friday 5 June - Conference Hall - 7:00 pm

Water, a life-giving force for all, has been a fascinating element since the beginning of time. Here in Pakistan, with the advent of the Monsoon rainy season each year, the floods in the River Indus can become devastating for the people living along its course. While others enjoy the qualities of water and explore the beauty hiding in its depths with sports like scuba diving.

This screening program is a selection of the water-based films of Nameera Ahmed.

  • The Living Amongst the Dead (2010)
  • Rescuing Raheema (2011)
  • The Mermaid of Churna Island (2014)
  • Moderator : Dr. Markus Heidingsfelder (Habib University)
  • Panelists : Tehmina Ahmed (Journalist, filmmaker) & Maheen Zia (Filmmaker)

The Living Amongst the Dead

  • A documentary film by Nameera Ahmed
    Produced by the Goethe-Institut Pakistan.
    (2010, 11 mins, Urdu and Sindhi with English subtitles).

In 2010 Pakistan was hit by one of the worst floods in its history, due to which hundreds of thousands of people became homeless."The Living Amongst the Dead" is a short documentary that explores the situation of the internally displaced people from the 2010 floods in Thatta District that are camped inside the historical Makli Necropolis in Sindh province. The necropolis of Makli, which is located on raised ground, Makli Hill, is one of the largest in the world and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List of protected sites.

Through the individual stories of some of these IDPs, the film takes the audience to an insider’s view to some of the issues and problems facing these refugees in their historic sanctuary, juxtaposed against the backdrop of the historical necropolis, the city of the dead, where the living struggle for survival and where the dead have given refuge to the living.


The Mermaid of Churna Island

  • Directed and Produced by Nameera Ahmed
    (2014, 21 mins, Urdu & English with English subtitles)

This is the story of Rosheen Khan, Pakistan’s first and only female SCUBA diving instructor, who overcame many hurdles in her young life to arrive where she is now. Rosheen comes from a conservative family background where even getting an education for a girl is a struggle. She met Yousuf Ali, a Master Instructor in Karachi, who propelled her down a path she could never have imagined, taking her on a scuba diving career from where she never looked back. With interviews also of her colleagues, both her male and female students, and Yousuf Ali, the film reveals startling elements not only from her scuba career, but from her personal life, telling the story of a woman of courage who dares to live her dream.

Directed and narrated by Nameera Ahmed, both Rosheen’s scuba student, and a practicing documentary filmmaker in Karachi, this film is shot both on land and underwater by Nameera. It is a very personal account and a subjective response to women’s empowerment in her society, which she gives meaning to through Rosheen’s life. As the film progresses, it peels off layers of meaning, and takes the audience deeper into a poetic inquiry into life, death, desire, and longing.


Rescuing Raheema

  • Directed and Produced by Nameera Ahmed
    (2011, 6 mins, Urdu & Sindhi with English subtitles)

This short film is about the rescue boat operations conducted by the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum during the floods in 2011 in the lower Sindh Province in Pakistan. This film talks about their rescue operations, in which they saved 58,000 lives and a baby girl Raheema, who was born after her pregnant mother was saved and brought onto dry land.


Nameera Ahmed is a documentary filmmaker and visual artist, Rescue Diver (PADI), underwater photographer (PADI), Digital Reviewer (Leonardo/ISAST), and has been teaching at the Karachi University and other film programmes in Karachi.

Her films have had international screenings in Italy, Germany, Iran, Brazil, India, Qatar, Azerbaijan, The Netherlands, U.S.A., Turkey and Pakistan, covering themes from heritage and culture, music, education, social issues, floods, and the environment. Her video artworks and installations have showcased at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2009) in Berlin, at the Kathmandu International Art Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal (2012), and the Ahmedabad International Art Festival in Ahmedabad, India (2012). She has also exhibited at the Mohatta Palace Museum (2010) Karachi, the ArtsCouncil Pakistan (2009) Karachi, the V.M. Art Gallery (2012), Karachi.

In 2014 she was invited to conduct film-related workshops at the Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles and screenings of her films, including “The Mermaid of Churna Island” (2014) at the UCLA in Los Angeles, Smith College in Northampton, MA, the American University in Washington D.C., The Hill Center on Capitol Hill, and the Blue Planet Scuba Diving Center in Washington D.C., and the Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey.

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  • Markus Hedingsfelder, Moderator

Dr. Heidingsfelder is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the Habib University Karachi. Dr. Heidingsfelder’s academic training provides a strong indication of his enduring interest in studying emerging forms of communication media with respect to their broader function and performance in society. Both, theorist and practitioner, sometimes - like in his Rem Koolhaas documentary, "A Kind of Architect" – he incorporates theory or reflection into his movies.

  • Tehmina Ahmed, Panelist

Tehmina Ahmed is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker. She is one of the founding editors of Newsline magazine and heads Newsline Films.

  • Maheen Zia, Panelist

Maheen Zia is a founding member of the KaraFilm Society and has been working as an organiser and programmer of the KaraFilm Festival since its inception in 2001. As a filmmaker she has directed and produced several short films and documentaries. Her work has aired locally on Geo Television Network, Aaj Television and Samaa Television (CNBC Pakistan), as well as internationally on the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, the National Geographic Channel and NHK, Japan. In 2008 she received the Berlin Today Award for her short fiction film ‘Match Factor’.

In addition, Maheen has taught filmmaking at the Department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi. In her spare time she pursues environmental activism and is a co-founder of the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society.

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