Iram Parveen will be showing her movie, 'I'll Meet You There' at SXSW!
Pakistani cinema is going places and of course we lost no time in having a one on one with her so YOU could know more!
How does it feel to be part of such a huge festival?
It is an honor. Being in competition at an A list festival was always a dream and career goal. I can now check that box! It’s been a long journey with this very personal film and in some sense, I’ve been alone having to have faith in the project and myself for most of it, so now it feels like extreme validation to have a main stream festival endorse it. And sharing this happiness with the team members who have also been with the project for a few years now witnessing the struggles, makes this win even sweeter. We now can’t wait to bring the film to the rest of the world.
Do you think you're movie, I'll Meet You There, describes what most Pakistani people go through?
Not at all. It is a very specific film about one fictional family and we just stick to that family’s emotional truth as crafted in the script. I would always be cautious about making sweeping statements about any one group’s experience in any nation. The truth is always more complicated and layered.
How were you inspired to come about the story? I started writing this story when I was in film school right after I’d spent a year traveling as a Thomas Watson fellow studying the motivations behind dance and body movement in different cultures. The issue of dance’s taboo in our culture has always bothered me since I was a child, being an avid mover since my early days and seeing so much hypocrisy towards dance in our everyday life. When I began writing this film, it was a few years after 9/11 so clearly that was weighing on the mind. I was very fascinated by the paradox of being a Muslim law enforcement officer in a post 9/11 America after I saw a bearded Pakistani cop in Los Angeles. During the height of Islamophobia, I wondered what his day to day life could be like. I researched and shadowed police officers during the writing of the film. In some ways I juxtaposed the two protagonists into one film, and that’s how the story of I'll Meet You There was born. Our Urdu title is Bismil, from Raqs-e-Bismil by the way.
How did the SXSW team find/approach you? I applied like everyone does, through film freeway, an online festival application website. I guess they liked our film and that’s how they approached us. It was a cold submission.
What have you got lined up next? I’m focusing on pitching a few series ideas as a creator as well as open for directing assignments In TV and film in Pakistan and the US. And then of course, our (Abid Aziz Merchant and mine) Cannes’ project WAKHRI is next as far as a feature film project goes, which we hope to shoot soon inshaallah.