How the whole film had to be filmed in four weeks before snowfall blocked their passage back to Lahore, a gruelling three day journey by road. How they had to chase the sunlight in days that started at 5am and wrapped at 5pm when the sun went down. How they negotiated hairpin bends, and (rarely) hostile receptions from the locals. How Afia, a woman filmmaker working in a country where film financiers "want to see masala films with women wearing almost nothing dancing and gyrating on the screen", as a first-time director was in charge of an all male crew of 40 and a cast of more than 200 extras!
But for Afia, the trials were all worth it for the reward of being able to tell this story, which will resonate with many women. She says, "In Pakistan, I come from a family of very strong women, women who have endured very tough lives in hope of a better one for their children. I have seen the daily struggles and sacrifices women make in a patriarchal society, which doesn’t value them. The seed of the film is inspired by the true story of a mother from the tribal areas who kidnapped her two daughters and sought a new future for them. The story resonated with me deeply. In the ten years that it took me to make this film, I became a mother to a daughter myself and the issue of child marriage became very important to me. Every year nearly 14 million girls are married and to me this is an unacceptable reality. As the story comes to an end, it raises important questions about the price we are willing to pay for freedom, dignity and love in a time when modernity, tradition and fundamentalism have come to a head."
Come and hear more from Dukhtar's Director Afia Nathaniel and Co-producer Cordelia Stephens at their Q&As during the festival.
Dukhtar / Daughter is showing at:
Chapter Arts Centre, Friday 20 March at 2.30pm + Q&A with Afia Nathaniel,
Chapter Arts Centre, Tuesday 24 March at 10.00am (WOW Women's Film Club screening) + Q&A with Cordelia Stephens
Chapter Arts Centre, Tuesday 24 March 8.30pm + Q&A with Cordelia Stephens
Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Monday 23 March at 8.15pm
Theatr Mwldan, Sunday 5 April at 6.00pm
Taliesin Arts Centre, Tuesday 21 April at 6.00pm