The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment has awarded Iram Parveen Bilal a grant that will support production on her next feature, Wakhri (One Of A Kind).
The film slated for production in 2022 tells the story of a female Pakistani social media star who vows to change the status quo by craftily using her celebrity for socioeconomic impact. The project was invited to the 2019 Cannes Cinefondation L’Atelier Official Selection, an invitation-only opportunity presented to 15 filmmakers each year.
The grant for Wakhri came to fruition with support from the CAA Foundation’s Full Story Initiative, which looks to generate more authentic and equitable storytelling in film and television.
Bilal is an alum of CAPE’s New Writers Fellowship who has made three features to date, including l’ll Meet You There. The project finalized through the aforementioned program was one of ten selected for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival’s Narrative Feature Competition, from a pool of 1,305 submissions. The filmmaker raised in Nigeria and Pakistan has also been spotlighted as one of eight directors to watch by the Alliance of Women Directors.
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“With this special grant to one of our alumni, CAPE is excited to deepen our relationship as a member of the CAA Foundation’s Full Story Initiative Nonprofit Advisory Council and support Iram Parveen Bilal, whose film I’LL MEET YOU THERE was the first produced feature out of the CAPE New Writers Fellowship,” said CAPE’s Executive Director, Michelle K. Sugihara. “Iram is a gifted storyteller whose films move us to imagine and inhabit a world rooted in equity and compassion, and we are thrilled to support her next feature, WAKHRI (ONE OF A KIND).”
“Authentic storytelling has incredible power to help people understand who they are and how they engage with the world,” said CAA Foundation Executive Maddy Roth. “The Full Story Initiative is proud to partner with CAPE who is creating a network of support for the next generation of AAPI storytellers.”
“Filmmaking is a community sport. It gives me immense comfort and pride to know that we have champions who see value in the impact-driven stories that we care to tell at Parveen Shah Productions,” added Bilal. “Now, more than ever, is the time to back the voices of the unseen and unheard, to unveil truths that have long been growing louder in the shadows. The team of WAKHRI (ONE OF A KIND) couldn’t be more honored and grateful to receive this grant, especially for a film that vies for using social media responsibly and for women reclaiming space, be it virtual or physical.”
CAPE’s New Writers Fellowship looks to discover and nurtures writers as they launch careers in film and TV. The program founded and co-chaired by Emmy-nominated writer, creator and showrunner Leo Chu (Disney Channel’s Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion) and television exec Steve Tao (SVP, Current Programming, The CW) is currently heading into its 10th cycle.
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