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Seemab Gul’s short film ‘Mulaqat’ qualifies for Oscar

Filmmaker Seemab Gul’s short film Sandstorm (Mulaqat) landed among the top three films at the HollyShorts Film Festival 2022, an Oscar-qualifying festival for short-film categories.

Winners for the top three awards at the festival, which ran from August 11 to August 20, automatically enter the Oscar race. It presented its top contenders with prizes on Saturday. According to The Wrap, Hallelujah won the Grand Prix for the festival’s best short, Sandstorm (Mulaqat) won for the best live-action short category and Scale won for animation.

“Mulaqat, directed by Seemab Gul, won at two Academy Award qualifying festivals HollyShorts and Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival in August 2022 which coincidentally is also the month we celebrate the 75th Independence Day of Pakistan,” one of the film’s producers, Abid Aziz Merchant, announced in an Instagram post on Monday.

Sandstorm has been produced by Gul and Merchant in collaboration with Sanat Initiative and Instinct Productions. Starring Hamza Mushtaq, Parizae Fatima, Ayesha Shoaib Ahmed and Nabila Khan, it revolves around a teenage girl named Zara whose life upends after she shares a sensual dance video with her virtual boyfriend.