The stories we can tell best are about ourselves, says British-Pakistani filmmaker Seemab Gul


Things at the Venice Film Festival were a little different this year. All bookings had to be made in advance, there were many ‘test tents’ where people could get tested, and lots of temperature checks. But none of it could take away from the glee Gul felt at being back at the movies. Like many around the world, she hadn’t been inside a cinema in a while.


“It was such a pleasure watching [the film] on a huge screen with peers and cinema lovers,” she says with a smile that she can barely contain. “That was a total treat.”

Work on Mulaqaat began a couple of years ago at another film festival. This was at the Locarno Film Festival, where Gul met Abid Merchant and pitched him the idea. Merchant — who is also the producer behind Iram Parveen Bilal’s Wakhri, which was selected for Open Doors at Locarno (2018) and Cannes L’Atelier (2019) — seemed interested in Gul’s film.

“Long story short, it took me about a year to write it and then he agreed to fund it after he read the script,” Gul says. “But then the Covid pandemic started…”

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