Riff-Raff

One evening in upper-middle-class Karachi...

  • Ahmed Arif
    Director
  • Ahmed Arif
    Writer
  • Ahmed Arif
    Producer
  • Malika Zafar
    Key Cast
    "Bassist"
    Anima State, Bobo
  • Joshinder Kaur Chaggar
    Key Cast
    "Woman in bed"
    Good Morning Karachi, Moor
  • Ahmed Arif
    Key Cast
    "Man with white car"
  • Sara Bhatti
    Key Cast
    "Woman in a dress"
  • Yasir Khan
    Director of Photography
    021
  • Faiz Zaidi
    Sound mixing & editing
    Cake, Rahm, Khaimeh Mein Matt Jhankein, Little Red Roses, Jeevan Haathi
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Mailay
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 15, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Pakistan
  • Country of Filming:
    Pakistan
  • Language:
    English, Urdu
  • Shooting Format:
    1920x1080 ProRes422(HQ)
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Black & White
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • South Asian International Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    December 2, 2016
    World Premier
    Official Selection
  • International Film Festival for South Asia
    Toronto
    Canada
    May 19, 2017
    Canada Premiere
    Official Selection
  • UK Asian Film Festival
    Edinburgh
    United Kingdom
    March 25, 2018
    UK Premiere
    Exhibited
  • FiLUMS - LUMS International Film Festival
    Lahore
    Pakistan
    November 17, 2017
    Lahore Premiere
    Winner, Best Short Film Award
  • National Academy of Performing Arts
    Karachi
    Pakistan
    August 5, 2017
    Pakistan Premiere
    Exhibited
  • Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival
    Mumbai
    India
    December 26, 2016
    Asian Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Ahmed Arif

Bio of Ahmed Arif - director, screen-writer, lead actor, & producer

I worked as a professional actor in Karachi during the early-to-mid nineties, performing lead roles in several major stage and television productions in Pakistan. In 2008, I co-founded the ‘Kinky Fish Theatre Company’ in London, England and played Prospero in an Artaudian production of the Tempest which ran commercially for 3 nights at London’s Candid Arts Centre in 2009. I left England for Pakistan that year, but the Kinky Fish is still performing.

I took acting courses during my undergraduate degree at Colby College in Maine, USA in 1989, at the City Academy, in London UK in 2007, at an Acting Master Course with Jenny Buckman, Head of Acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, in London in 2008, and an advanced acting course in Karachi in 2011 with Sabiha Sumar (Golden Leopard for Best Director at the Festival del Locarno, 2002).

I started Cinema Pure in Karachi, in 2013, as an independent platform for Pakistani film professionals to come together, as a collective, to work on projects that are not commercially motivated.

“Mailay” (Riff-Raff) is the second film made under the Cinema Pure banner.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Our 2 goals for this film:

Goal # 1
Our first goal is to show that it is possible to make compelling Pakistani cinema without relying on big budgets, item-numbers [Bollywood dancing], color, epic film-scores, expensive cameras, sets, costumes, VFX, or borrowed themes of poverty and social-deprivation.

As such, we used only a commonly available prosumer DSLR and a small self-funded budget, with which we have tried to glue our audience’s eyes to the screen as proof that this style of film-making has financial potential.

We have tried to do this while relying only on plot, and the pure poetic power of light, movement & sound, sculpted through time, within a frame.

Our first goal is to show in Pakistan that content extracted from the agony, confusion and rapture of our personal lives can be all that's needed for strong cinema.

Goal # 2
Pakistani cinema [i.e., cinema done on Pakistani funding by those who live & work in Pakistan] does not seem to search inspiration in the work of the great global film-makers of the past, and does not use them as a starting point for original creative output.

Because of this, Pakistani films have no relevance whatsoever to the global dialogue that is being led by the contemporary greats in Hong Kong, Paris, Tehran, New York and elsewhere, on the evolution of the cinematic art.

In making Mailay, we have been inspired by the great masters - by Tarkovsky, for example, on how mindfully he paced the flow of each frame, by Truffaut for certain editing styles, by Michael Haneke for the absence of a soundtrack other than what was diagetically recorded in the frame, by Bresson for how he directed his actors, and so on.

And while staying aware of the past, we have tried humbly, very humbly, to contribute a soft yet audible whisper from Pakistan, in to the global conversation on the nature of cinema that is being led by today's great film-makers.

This whisper is the second of our 2 goals.

Did we succeed in our goals?

Ahmed Arif
Karachi, Pakistan