Shehri Pakistan is an organisation which provides synthesised civic-education information and legal aid, especially to minority groups, in hopes of empowering the citizens of Pakistan.
This short film was made to illustrate the daily lived experience of many minority groups that reside in Pakistan today. This was done by constructing a fictional minority group called Nishaniya (the marked ones), people with a distinctive mark on their foreheads, and following one member of this group as he goes through many “normal” situations such as going to work, walking in public, attempting to find housing etc. In each situation, forms of exclusion, casual discrimination, economic and geographic isolation etc. are highlighted. The idea being conveyed is that religious freedom is not only violated through acts of exclusion that we can deem illegal but also through acts of discrimination and exclusion that are not illegal but also negatively affect the quality of life of religious minorities in Pakistan.
From storyboarding to premiering the short film online, the project was completed in under 6 weeks.
Since uploading this short film on our Facebook page in October 2018, so far it has garnered:
443,000 total views
Over 1,700 shares
100+ user comments
Over 5,000 reactions
Background and character illustrations
Audio and video editing
Adobe Premiere Pro
I brainstormed the overall direction for the short film with a team of 3 colleagues. After coming up with a rough idea of the direction the short film will take (left), I created a more detailed, scene-by-scene storyboard (right) and proceeded to create the characters and backgrounds in Photoshop.
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Initially, my tasks were to create the backgrounds and characters and hand them off to a colleague to animate and finish the short film, who was more experienced in this field.
However, the quality of their work (below) was not up to the standards held by our organisation, and was deemed highly unsatisfactory by the creative team and our CEO.
After viewing the video, our team unanimously decided to scrap the entire project altogether, and instead use the artwork I had made in print-form and release it as comic books instead. After our meeting, I put forth the following arguments in front of the team:
The overall reach and impact of a video would be a lot more than distributing comic books
A video would be a lot more cost-effective than resorting to print media
Given the nature of the subject-matter of this video, and the positive sociocultural impact it may have, I believed it was crucial for us to spread this message to as many people as possible, and making this video available online would have a lot more reach than print media
I asked my ceo to give me no more than 2 weeks, so I could learn Adobe Premiere Pro and animate the entire video, from scratch, myself. Because he was pleased with the artwork I had created for this project, especially because it was my first attempt at using Photoshop, he agreed to the 2 week extension. The video below is the final version, which took me 10 days to complete.
As mentioned earlier, the short film was uploaded on our Facebook channel in October 2018, and has been doing really well since - both in terms of its outreach, and starting a dialogue which will hopefully lead a more fair society for all, regardless of creed, cast or religious differences.
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