Not many people know that actor Usman Mukhtar is passionate about filmmaking. Long before he debuted on TV with his most popular drama serials, ‘Anaa and Sabaat’, he had wanted to get into production, but lack of support from family led him to study journalism.
He didn’t give up, though, while he started acting in amateur theatre plays, he also produced and directed his own short films and music videos, aided by his close friends. Later, he famously starred in ‘Janaan’ (2016) and ‘Parchi’ (2018), both immensely successful feature films, but he’s yet to direct one.
Meanwhile, he has set a new benchmark for aspiring filmmakers in Pakistan, with his new short, titled ‘Bench’, which was recently adjudged the Best Short Film at New York’s 2nd South Shore Film Festival.
The festival was due to begin on July 25, as a regular event, with red-carpet screenings of finalists in local cinemas followed by an awards ceremony, but it was cancelled due to the worsening Covid-19 situation in the US.
‘Bench’s’ storyline is as simple as its title — it deals with a young couple sitting on a bench in a public park and ruminating on why their relationship went wrong — but, Mukhtar says, it has several layers to it. The script is penned by Ali Mudar, “a very dear friend; we think so much alike.” The two-character short has Mukhtar leading the cast alongside noted model and actor Rubya Chaudhry.
Recently, Usman took to Instagram to share another milestone, revealing to fans and followers that the short film has been selected for the Cannes Independent Film Festival.
The Embassy of Pakistani in France broke the news on Twitter.
Federal Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry also popped up and congratulated Usman Mukhtar on his success.