SFFILM Festival Encore: Wakhri

  • A woman with a purple wig & dress and a beaded face mask stares with an expression of urgency
  • A woman in heavy face makeup sitting in front of a window
  • A young chilld in blue and pink wig sitting between two adults in front of a wall with other wigs
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2024 SFFILM Festival Encore at The Roxie

Filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal takes inspiration from the story of Qandeel Baloch in crafting this compelling drama. Baloch was Pakistan’s first social media celebrity, who often used her platform to speak out against the patriarchy, until her brother murdered her in an act of “honor” killing. Her life planted the seeds from which spring this film’s widowed schoolteacher Noor and her queer best friend Guchhi. To live out their dreams and aspirations, the pair leads double lives. In bright makeup and flashy wigs, Noor and Guchhi adopt brash, fearless social media personas, representing a freedom so enticing that people can’t look away. Too often the cinemascape has portrayed Muslim women and queer people from the Global South as victimized objects of pity. Wakhri has a different tale to tell, one that celebrates the resilience with which its protagonists demand equality within a flawed society.

Director Iram Parveen Bilal

Pakistani American filmmaker Iram Parveen Bilal was raised in Pakistan and Nigeria and came to the United States to attend the California Institute of Technology. She is the founder of QALAMBAAZ, Pakistan’s first screenwriting lab. She also serves as a mentor to women in tech and filmmaking. She made her feature directing debut with Josh (2013), winner of the Viewers Choice prize for best independent film at the ARY Film Awards. Her other features include Piled Higher and Deeper: Still in Grad School (2015) and I’ll Meet You There (2020).

Film Details

Language  Urdu

Year  2023

Premiere  California

Runtime  99

Country  Pakistan/USA

Director  Iram Parveen Bilal

Executive Producer  Aalia Mahboob Elahi

Producer  Abid Aziz Merchant, Apoorva Bakshi, Iram Parveen Bilal

Writer  Iram Parveen Bilal

Editor  Aarti Bajaj

Cinematographer  Ludovica Isidori

Music  Abdullah Siddiqui

Cast  Faryal Mehmood, Gulshan Majeed, Shees Sajjad Gul


1h 39m
Iram Parveen Bilal
Urdu with English subtitles.
First Showing
May 2, 2024