Private Project

The State of Dissent

The film is the story of the filmmaker’s two activist friends who ran a famous blog known for satire of the powerful Pakistani military. One day they were illegally disappeared and brutally tortured by the army in a bid to silence them!

The film goes into rare details of what it was like inside Pakistan's notorious & secret torture cells and how the two bounced back and now continue their defiant activism in exile while being exposed to assassination attempts and death threats even abroad.

The story then takes a personal turn as the filmmaker’s cousin, a renowned human rights defender, goes missing at the hands of the military. His teenage daughter starts an international campaign for his release. Will he ever come out of the notorious torture cells alive? Will the daughter ever see her Papa again?

The State of Dissent examines what makes such dissidents put their lives at risk, their personal struggles and the massive price they pay for their ideals.

  • Roshaan Khattak
  • Roshaan Khattak
  • London college of communication ual
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 2, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    France, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4k
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - London College of Communication, UAL
  • Academy Awards (Oscars) - students category

    Finalists stage (nominated)
  • BAFTA Awards- students category

    Shortlisted for BAFTA student awards
  • Grierson Awards- students category

  • Kosice International Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Maringa International Film and Human Rights Festival

    Official Selection
  • International Human Rights Film Festival in Buenos Aires (FICDH)

    Official Selection
  • Golden Art Film Academy

  • London Director Awards

    WINNER, Best Director Short Documentary
Director Biography - Roshaan Khattak

I am a human rights activist from Pakistan currently in exile in UK. My focus has been exposing extrajudicial torture and killings by the Pakistani military, world's sixth biggest nuclear armed army, of activists, journalists and dissidents.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

‘The State of Dissent’ is a three characters driven documentary based on how these activists were disappeared and tortured by the Pakistani military as part of country wide clampdown on critical and dissenting voices. It tells their story of events that lead them to Pakistani military’s notorious torture cells, days in detention and how they continue their defiant activism in exile.