Workshops in Institutes

Azam Garrison and Garrison Academy for Girls, LHR

13-19th February 2019

Every child needs their creative freedom; to commit themselves completely to the effort, and make whatever activity they are doing their own. But what’s more important in any creative act is the process of self-expression. With a similar aim, The Little Art conducted a five-day Filmmaking Workshop at APS and Azam Garrison from 13th February to 19th February, 2019. A total of 34 girls and 3 teachers from Azam Garrison and Garrison Academy for Girls attended the workshop. The workshop was conducted by Nida Esapzai, and Ammar Aziz.

The theme of the workshop was ‘overcoming gender-based roles and breaking through social expectations.’ The main issues to explore were ‘expressing emotions, communicating desires, aspirations, opinions and disagreements.’ The girls thoroughly explored the societal bubble that encircled them and how to break free of its pressures. They further learnt the importance of expressing what’s inside of them and how they can achieve everything they set their mind to.

Using their explorations, the girls came up with very creative stories to portray their experiences into short films and documentaries, shot entirely by them. A total of four films were produced which will have a chance to be showcased to a wider public in schools, universities and LICFF’19.

The workshop was free of cost and all the supplies were provided by The Little Art.

Films made by children

My School – Mera School
Thoughts of Aya Jee – Aya Jee Ki Soch
I am the Player – Main Khiladi
35 years of Spring – Bahaar k 35 saal

watch films here

Umul Madaris Model School, FSD

4th-8th March 2019

There are no limitations when it comes to expressing inner creativity. While some may have the opportunity to express it through the way they dress, the drawings they make or even through writing; others may not have that same opportunity. Every child should have the freedom to express what is in them, through any medium. The filmmaking workshop at Umul Madaris acted as a catalyst to the children’s dreams and desires. Their interest in making films and expressing themselves through the lens came out as a realization of how important it is to have arts education in schools.

This particular workshop had a very diverse number of participants. Five of the boys who joined were in the process of becoming Hafiz, while there was also the usual discrimination present between boys and girls. They were not allowed to interact openly and maintained a safe distance.

Starting from drawing self-portraits, it became quite clear what every child individually thought of themselves. This not only helped the trainers to understand them, but also gave ideas regarding short films to be made by them.

Films made by children

Designer Hafiz
Fabulous Four – Chaar Saheliyan
Jiya’s Scooter – Jiya ka Scooter
Sandwich Boy – Ladkay Ka Sandwich

watch films here

The Trust School, Thokar Niaz Baig Campus, LHR

11th – 15th March 2019

Stimulating children’s creativity is very important for their development, and films play one of the major roles in doing that. The students at The Trust School, Thokar Niaz Baig Campus were a little shy at first, majorly because they were not used to indulge in activities that included both boys and girls in the same room. On the second day, trainer, Sehyr Mirza conducted gender exercises, after which not only did the children become highly interactive, but also expressed some great ideas for their short films.

One of the exercises was ‘Role Reversal’ in which the students were provided a situation and had to act on it, but as opposite genders. The first situation presented to them was of two girls or boys walking down the road and a stray dog shows up. The boys (acting as girls) presented a scared image of the girls upon making contact with the dog; they screamed and ran away.

On the other hand, the girls (acting as boys) presented either a brave or a naughty image of the boys. The exercise gave a very different perspective about the what stereotypes are instilled in the society.

The workshop was conducted by Ammar Aziz and Sehyr Mirza. It was free of cost and all the supplies were provided by The Little Art.

Films made by children

All-rounder Huma
Kaam Sab Kay – It’s Everybody’s Work
Miljul k Parho – Co-Education for All?
Missing Heroes – Aurtain Kahan Hain?

Watch Films Here

Dar-e-Arqam, FSD

11th – 15th March, 2019

Filmmaking workshop at Dar-e-Arqam was held from 11th March to 15th March, 2019 with a total of 24 students. The workshop was led by Fazal Ahmed and Abdul Basit.

The space and atmosphere of the school was a real challenge for the trainers and also the students, who had no such exposure before. However, a positive and active response of students throughout the workshop kept the essence of it alive.

Abdul Basit started the workshop with basic terminologies and concepts of filmmaking. The trainers continued with self-portrait activity and also explained the basic techniques of operating a camera. The other days were followed by reference images, videos and storytelling. The students were also given the task of capturing different shots within the school vicinity which they did very well. Many girls shared their ideas and there was a girl who said she wanted to become an actor but the society doesn’t appreciate it.

Similarly there was another girl who wrote her own story of how she loves art and creative things but her parents want her to opt the medical field. The students also shared their gender experiences with the trainers and they pointed out some of those remarks which they listened to on daily basis from their family and people around, which were later shot in the form of a short film.

During the last two days the girls shot three films by themselves with the assistance of trainers and thoroughly enjoyed the shooting process.

Films made by children

A 25 rupee bottle – 25 ki bottle
Head spin – Gol Chakar
The Hidden One – Chupai Hui

Watch Films Here

The Trust School, Wapda Town and Green Town, LHR

18th – 22nd March 2019

Held from 18th to 22nd March, 2019 with a total of 30 students, the filmmaking workshop conducted at The Trust School Wapda town (Girls Campus), and joined by students from The Trust School Green town branch (Boys campus), was an interesting experience. It was led by filmmaker and trainer Fazal Ahmad and Abdul Basit.

The trainers started the workshop with a short discussion related to origin of cameras and how videos were made in the past. In reference to this, the trainers showed them the famous Edward Muybridge’s horse video and explained how movies and videos are made. A portrait activity was also conducted where the students made their self-portraits, representing their personalities and thoughts on paper. Later, the trainers explained the use of cameras and how they are operated and asked the students to capture different emotions from the school surroundings.

The second day was followed by some camera use and basic shots of movies where they were told how different shots are taken and what makes them different from each other.

The trainers also showed some documentaries and few scenes from an animated movie and asked the students to tell different types of shots being used in the documentaries and movie clips. The children responded with a clear understanding of the concepts which clearly showed their understanding. During the last two days, story structures were made and students were asked to formulate thier stories. Some of the students came up with very thought-provoking ideas which were also quite related to their own gender experiences. The enthusiasm of the children on the last day was extremely high. They shot their scenes very confidently and enjoyed every part of the shooting.

Films made by children

Pressure Cooker
Usman Singer
What Will People Say – Log Kya Kahain Gay

Watch films here

St. Catherine’s Girls High School, FSD

18th – 22nd March 2019

Located at the heart of Warispura, St. Catherine’s Girls High School welcomed us with open arms as the gates opened to lead us to a spacious ground towards the building. As the team moved towards the hall, we were eyed by exciting faces waiting to know the reason of our presence. A total of 23 students and 5 novices took part in the workshop, completely moving us with their stories.

Where it took us two days to break the ice, this particular workshop ended up being the most inspiring of all. By the third day, we found girls who were learning to ride a motorbike, so they could help/support their father in running errands.

Another very passionate girl wanted to become a ‘Survivor Girl,’ inspired by Bear Grylls. She even showed us her diary in which she has recorded survival techniques, as a preparation to fulfill her passion. This workshop was not only inspiring for the girls but for the team as well.

Film made by children

Singers of Tomorrow – Kal Kay Gayak
Shumail’s Motorbike – Shumail ki Motorbike
Larki ki Baqa ka Tareeka – A Girl’s Guide to Survival

watch films here

The Trust School, Amir Town Boys Campus, LHR

25th – 29th March 2019

When asked the difference between their regular classes and the filmmaking workshop, one of the students replied that here they ‘learnt,’ but in the classroom they only ‘study.’ It was truly encouraging to watch the young boys from The Trust School, Amir Town Boys Campus grasping everything that was being shared with them at the workshop. Their self-expression and desire to go beyond their systematic surrounding left us all astounded from Day 1. Not only were they vocal about their opinions, they were the only school out of all the rest, who asked innumerable questions regarding films. Their naughtiness, enthusiasm and the desire to learn blended into a rich protein shake that not only strengthened their confidence but also inspired us to interact with them on a different level.

The boys came up with some great stories, written creatively, following the Story Structure format explained by trainers, Fazal Ahmad and Abdul Basit. Their ideas were then incorporated into the films they shot. Every student was assigned a role during the shoot and they executed it with full conviction.

Film made by children

The Beating – Dhulai
Crying and Dancing Bablu – Nachta Rota Bablu

watch films here

The Trust School, Amir Town Girls Campus, Lahore

1st – 5th April, 2019

Filmmaking workshop at The Trust School, Amir Town Girls Campus was led by Ammar Aziz and Sehyr Mirza. Despite being an all-girls campus, there still was division of tasks understood to be done by either just boys or just girls. Gender exercises helped the girls in coming up with topics for their films and the strong messages they wanted to send through them.

One of the major stories that were common between the girls was about the extracurricular activities held in school; the issue being that sports is considered to be the boys department and the girls were not given a chance to pursue sports activities as seriously as they were carried out at the boy’s campus.

These ideas were shot very creatively by the girls and it was good to experience how the students grasped the concepts in a very positive way.

Film made by children

Kitchen and Playground – Kitchen aur Khel Ka Maidan
Child Marriages – Chotti Umer ki Shadi
The Butterfly Dreams – Khwab Titlion Jesey
I Wear What I Like – Mai Jo Marzi Pehnoon

watch films here

Dreamland School, Shahdara Lahore

10th – 13th April, 2019

Dreamland School, situated in the outskirts of Lahore, was not only a challenge in terms of travel, and space, but we had also assumed that given the area, it would be difficult for us to teach the children certain concepts of filmmaking.

The students too were shy and didn’t talk much at first; however, the self-portrait exercise revealed a lot of different sides that caught our attention. Some of the boys expressed that they liked to cook and that they wanted to choose a different field other than engineering, and medical. The girls too shared their desire to do things that they are not normally allowed to do, for example, riding a bike, roaming around till late with their friends and doing things considered to be ‘boyish.’ The story writing exercise highlighted one of the stories in which the boy wanted to play with toys considered to be for girls, but his parents and people around him taunted him for that.

Revealing personal experiences of such extent is not an easy thing to do, especially at a school age. And one of the main aims of the workshop was to make it easier for the children to share those experiences. It not only relieves them of the pressure, but helps them to convert the negative into a positive force of action.

Films made by children

Kon Bahadur
Humaray Tumharay Khilonay

watch films here

Garrison Academy for Cambridge Studies and Garrison Academy for Boys, Lahore

15th – 19th April, 2019

Diversity in terms of students was greatly seen in this particular filmmaking workshop which was led by Ammar Aziz and Sehyr Mirza. The self-portrait exercise in this workshop was quite interesting to analyze. One of the students shared how he felt ’emptiness’ inside him despite having a great family around him. Another girl expressed that she was a mango tree with strong roots among the apple trees with weak roots. All the students very enthusiastically participated and came up with heartfelt stories that they wanted to turn into films. One of the boys of grade 7 wanted to become a make-up artist, but could not even think of pursuing it because his parents did not approve of it. Another highlighted the school security lady who already was an inspiring figure for all the girls and boys at school, and they wanted to highlight her now that they had a chance.

From creating stories, to sharing experiences and shooting them, the workshop was a learning experience for not just the students but their teachers who were a part of it too.

Films made by children

Free Girls – Azad Larkian
Being Friends – Yeh Dosti
Mai hoon Zain – I am Zain
Colors of Sakhi – Sakhi kay Rang

watch films here

Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore

29th April – 3rd May, 2019

Female fierceness should never be underestimated; whether it’s talking about issues they strongly feel about or trying their best to advocate it in front of everyone. This was exactly the kind of atmosphere during the filmmaking workshop at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. A highly enthusiastic bunch of girls were very keen to share how they felt about topics including body shaming, sexual repression of women, sexism in language, child sexual abuse, mental health, different treatment boys and girls, to name a few.

Every point of view was interestingly transformed into topics for documentaries. From running around the campus to shoot interviews, to making meaningful frames, the girls gave in their all and some more, not wanting it to end any time soon.

Films made by youth

O, Dear Sweet Girls – O, Achi Larkian
Sexism in Language – Aurat Wali Gali Do
Fat, Small and Skinny – Moti, Chotti aur Patli

watch films here

University of Management and Technology, Lahore

13th – 17th May 2019

The Filmmaking Workshop in UMT proved to be a fresh, learning break for students who normally study the theoretical forms of filmmaking. The students, both boys and girls, belonged to different departments and were keen to learn the concepts of filmmaking. Gender exercises went extremely well, with students showing some very great acting skills.

A total of 24 students were divided into groups of three to create a skit based on breaking gender stereotypes in just 30 minutes and they came up with very thought provoking ideas that also ended up introducing everyone to some students with immense and unique talent who otherwise don’t share it.

Three films were made on topics of body shaming and society’s view of toxic masculinity, and highlighting personalities from within the university who are breaking gender stereotypes and deserve to be heard.

Films made by youth

Dual Singer – Do Awaz
Kashti Rani – The Rowing Girl
Mard Ban – Be a Man

watch films here

GC University, FSD

25th – 29th March 2019

Conducting filmmaking workshop at university level was a totally different experience, yet very similar in some areas. The students of Government College, Faisalabad, both boys and girls, were very hesitant in sharing their stories and experiences, but as our trainer, Ammar Aziz, shared some of his own, the atmosphere went from hesitant to comfortable in just a few moments. One of the boys proudly shared a story of a girl in his university, who despite being visually impaired does everything on her own.

She continues to study no matter the hardships she faces; he went on to reveal that she was his sister. Another one of the boys shared that he loved dancing and wanted to pursue it professionally.

But his passion had instead caused problems for him; being one of the reasons he was fired from his job. The students not only spoke about their experiences in front of the entire class, but also ended up making short documentaries on them.

Film made by youth

Aik athlete ki umeed
Being a female theatre actor
Dancer Boy – Naachta Larrka

watch films here

Teacher’s Training Workshop

“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.” –

Joyce Meyer, American Author

Teachers change lives. There is no doubt about the kind of influence that teachers have on their students. A strong, experienced person can enrich a student’s lives on numerable levels. A teacher becomes the most trusted source of guidance and advice for the students, which puts a major responsibility on them of having that kind of knowledge and experience to cater to the student’s needs. The ‘Teachers Training Workshop’ as a part of Equally Loud Project had the same objective to achieve; to have a discussion about the rights of children, to share the reasons and solutions behind gender experiences of children, to showcase films made by the children during filmmaking workshops, and how those films can have a wider impact on the society. A total of 20 teachers from 10 schools, 2 each from 7 schools of Lahore and 3 from Faisalabad, took part in the workshop. The teachers present were also a part of the 5-day workshop previously held in those 10 schools. The workshop was held at Faletti’s Hotel from 9am to 4pm. It was led by Shoaib Iqbal, founder and director of The Little Art.

One of the major components of Equally Loud is to create gender sensitization among children and give a voice to their experiences. The teachers had an open discussion on how violence should not be a part of a child’s upbringing in school and how it results in the child only disliking the subject. There was also a discussion on why hitting in some schools is an acceptable norm in some schools and what impact it has on children.

Sensitizing children on gender and hearing their perspectives regarding their gender experiences was the core discussion of the workshop. The teachers put in their perspectives of why it is necessary to provide boys and girls an equal platform to perform. The discussion ended on a fruitful note of teachers pledging to play their part in making sure that they work to stop discrimination between boys and girls at their schools.

Trainer’s Profile

Nida is a feminist, sexual rights activist and advocate from Pakistan. She has done her Master’s in International Relations at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Nida has around 7 years of experience working with human rights advocacy and development organizations such as Rutgers WPF in Pakistan, Save the Children in Pakistan, the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) in Malaysia and UNICEF in Sri Lanka. Nida was a member of the YCSRR for five years and has served on the Board of Directors of the organization for a two-year period. She was one of the lead trainers of the YCSRR’s youth leadership in the ICPD operational review regional trainings and represented the YCSRR on various international and regional advocacy forums.

Ammar Aziz is a FIRPRESCI winning and IDFA nominated documentary filmmaker. His debut feature film ‘A Walnut Tree’ has been screened in over 70 international film festivals. He served as jury for IDFA’s Oxfam Global Justice Award in 2015. Ammar is also the co-founder of SAMAAJ, a non-profit organization using art and culture for rights awareness in Pakistan.

Sehyr Mirza is a gender specialist and an independent journalist. Her work has appeared in media outlets such as DAWN, The News International, Viewpoint, The News on Sunday, The Wire, BBC and Outlook India. Her areas of expertise include art and literature, human rights, socio-political issues, gender, and South Asian affairs. Sehyr is the co-founder of Social Awareness Media and Art Junction (SAMAAJ), a development communication organization that works in various traditional and contemporary mediums of arts and communications.

Fazal Ahmad is a filmmaker and director of Thinair films. He has worked as an assistant director in Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Bol’ and Jami’s ‘Moor.’ He also worked as a cinematographer in Pakistan’s feature film ‘Ready Steady No’ directed by Hisham Bin Munawwar. Fazal’s short film ‘Background’ also won the third prize in Dawn’s ‘It Only Happens in Pakistan’ competition. He has also written and directed three short films. Fazal’s photography work also covers a wide scope of subjects and themes covering countless professional and independent projects.

Abdul Basit is a Director and Business Development Manager at Thinair Films as well as the founder of EBolt Bike. He has co-directed multiple episodes of #PakistanIsPassionate, a project of Dawn. UN-award winner, Basit is also a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur, working to introduce a made in Pakistan electric bike.

Madeeha is an independent filmmaker, digital content creator, trainer/teacher, and a strong women’s rights advocate. Her films interweave advocacy and social impact storytelling, with an aim to canvass dialog on tough social issues and bringing unheard stories of real-life warriors to life. Her work highlights stories and issues of the marginalised, engendering in her audience a deep emotional connection and empathy. Besides, she regularly does trainings for women and the youth on the art of visual storytelling and digital filmmaking as tools for social messaging, and has done trainings for the European Union, WWF, Creative Alley, Accountability Lab, and The Little Art, besides the trainings she has led under the banner of her organisation called Women Through Film.