Perween Rahman: The Rebel Optimist

"No one is safe in this city. Those who think otherwise are living in a fool's paradise", says Perween's best friend and colleague Anwar Rashid as he navigates the chaotic roads of Karachi. An architect and urban planner, Perween Rahman dedicated her life for the poor of Pakistan. She was shot dead by armed assailants on her way home in March 2013. When she joined the Karachi based Orangi Pilot Project, founded by Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan, Orangi's lanes were full of filth and choking gutters. Back in the early 80s, the people of Orangi, most of them migrants from India and Bangladesh, were taking their own steps to improve sanitation. Dr. Khan assigned Perween the task of developing a low cost sanitation model for Orangi. Perween's pioneering work in Orangi led her on a collision course with the various mafias in the city. She surveyed the water supply to Karachi and pinpointed locations from where water is being stolen from the bulk supply lines. She mapped and documented Karachi's informal settlements to provide the poor security against land grabbers. Perween had an alternate vision for the development of Karachi. "Development doesn't come from concrete. Development is not five star hotels and mega road projects. What we need is human development.".

  • Mahera Omar
    Director
  • Aquila Ismail
    Producer
  • Mahera Omar
    Producer
  • Talha Ahmad
    Editor
  • Mahera Omar
    Editor
  • Athar Saeed
    Original Music
    City by the Sea: The Future of Karachi's Coastline
  • Film Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 6 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    Pakistan
  • Country of Filming:
    Pakistan
  • Film Language:
    Urdu
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Delhi International Film Festival
    Delhi
    India
    October 13, 2018
    Best Documentary, Across the Border category
  • Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
    Seattle
    United States
    October 5, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Pakistan International Film Festival
    Karachi
    Pakistan
    March 29, 2018
    Best Documentary Feature
  • Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival
    Kathmandu
    Nepal
    March 7, 2018
    Special Jury Mention Award
  • Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival
    Istanbul
    Turkey
    October 27, 2017
    Turkey
    2nd Prize Best Documentary
  • Mumbai International Film Festival
    Mumbai
    India
    March 2, 2018
    India
    Official Selection
  • Film SouthAsia
    Kathmandu
    Nepal
    November 4, 2017
    Nepal
    Official Selection
  • Lund International Architecture Film Festival
    Lund
    Sweden
    October 5, 2017
    Sweden
    Official Selection
  • Karachi Literature Festival
    Karachi
    Pakistan
    February 11, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Brussels International Women's Film Festival
    Brussels
    Belgium
    January 27, 2017
    Europe
    Official Selection
  • Architect Africa Film Festival
    Johannesburg
    South Africa
    June 1, 2016
    African
    Official Selection
  • Creative Karachi Festival
    Karachi
    Pakistan
    April 24, 2016
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Mahera Omar

Mahera Omar explores social, urban and environmental issues in Pakistan through her documentary filmmaking; such as the development of Karachi, education projects in Hunza and Shigar, and adventure travel filming. Her documentary “Sea Turtles” produced for Geo Television won the 22nd Genesis Award in the Brigitte Bardot International Category. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and veterinarians are the super heroes in her book.

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