My internship experience at SOC Films

There have been few experiences in my life, that have impacted me the way, my time at SOC films has. Pursuing film, has been a long-standing dream that seems nerve twistingly far? It’s hard enough believing in yourself and no matter how much confidence you feign, sometimes you need a hand to stretch itself out and say, go for it! Dream bigger!

I came to SOC films, knowing that I wanted to pursue film but scared, that I wasn’t good enough. In Karachi, what value does a story have? I had no technical knowledge and I was fresh A-level graduate, when I joined the internship program.

It’s hard to believe that I found myself, in a pile of transcriptions and subtitles. Some interviews were a mechanical process of recording, lines of dialogue in correspondence to time codes but others moved me, they showed subjects beyond the victim-victimizer lens, these people, were resilient and their stories were powerful. I was keen to note, the interview process, from the style of questions being asked, to the way scenes and subjects were framed.

Transcriptions were just a stepping- stone and the work quickly paid off, as I was pulled onto research and other administrative tasks. It wasn’t just the work, that pushed me to grow, it was the team that made up SOC films. Everyone on the team, had their own personal narratives and their own style of teaching but they were all models of people who took the plunge and worked with commitment, to refine their skills. I had never looked at people as role models till my internship.

My second summer at SOC, I decided to take all the skills and knowledge, I had accumulated and shoot my own documentary. It was great, SOC films acted as my supervisor and I was able to earn 5 college credits as a fieldwork internship. The producers helped me with characters and gave me feedback on my interviews, while the cinematographer and editors gave me feedback on technical aspects. I interviewed people from all walks, to find leads and characters.

Going into the colonies of Karachi, and finding my own stories was high stress but it was a blast! It really pushed me to improve the technical aspects related to my work and threw me out of my comfort zone, in the best and worst possible way. The team at SOC films, was without the doubt, the best support network for my project.

This summer, I was able to shoot and edit a short 2 minute promo for SOC films, in addition to various other tasks. I received feedback from Sharmeen, the editors, the cinematographer and sound. Everything from content, lighting to the kind of music I wanted to use, was a learning curve.

Coming back to SOC, always makes me grow, I measure myself against the people who make up the team and I realize how much I still have left to learn. To date, there has never been a time, when my internship has not pushed me. I have gained a lot from the work I have done, the team and the other interns, all of them, have been remarkable. I am still quite nervous, when it comes to film, I constantly question whether I am good enough, but my internship stands as a personal reminder, to dream big and work hard.

— Eleyna Haroun


The Unsung heroes of Pakistan

Ho Yaqeen- The unsung heroes of Pakistan

Having aired on 20th May 2012, Ho Yaqeen is a documentary series that aims at illuminating Pakistan from a new perspective to not only the international media but to its own national populous. A change to the latest episode of Hum Safar which we all avidly watch. Ho yaqeen is a series quite unique to the national television programming of Pakistan, in both its genre and content. Delving into the work and obstacles faced by these 6 characters on the ground through 6 episodes, the series follows characters who have transformed their lives into an expression of what it means to be selfless through deliberate and self-conscious decisions They are not the divine saints of theology giving up all worldly possessions to help others or individuals with superlative abilities instead they are ordinary citizens who refuse to turn a blind eye towards their community

The literal translation of the series being “if you believe” is the newest initiative of the Academy and Emmy award winning documentary filmmaker, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and her production team- SOC films, in collaboration with Coca Cola. What is particularly interesting about the series is its approach to the concept of a hero as an ordinary person who has sought to define his/her identity through acts that’s are both self-conscious and deliberate. Ho Yaqeen is, as the team claims, a reflection of  how there is so much more to the Pakistani mind set; patriotism in this sense seems to be a very strong component in this series. The teams approach to the series being summed up;

“You have to deliver, you can take longer but you always deliver.”

Indeed the response to Ho Yaqeen has been quite a phenomenal one in its own right. The Premiere night witnessed an audience teary eyed and applauding from the sentiment of nationalism that the small frame of Sabina Khatri had induced through her story in the first episode.

Sabina Khatri, a woman who took the initiative of setting up her own school in Lyari ,an area notorious for its crime and violence. Sabina Khatri has been successfully running the Kiran school for the past 5 years not only sought to educate the children of Lyari but their parents as well. . The Kiran school has been at the forefront of helping these children with sponsored admission into well established private schools and is noticeably becoming the spearhead of an educational revolution and providing the next generation with a base to create a chain reaction of positive change.

In relation to the series the SOC films team has said;

“We were very passionate about showing not only the international media but our own nation that within our own grounds, heroes lie in the most unexpected of places.  We have picked up on a few individuals. Tons of research, believe me has shown us that there are so many more who are actively making a difference in Pakistan. “

Its clear that the team at Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy films has sought to boost the Pakistani morale with a clear message that positive social change is not a mythological ideology but a tangible force. Having presented her first case of proof we can only wait at the edge of our seats for the SOC team to unveil the remaining 5 characters. From a woman and team who are showing the world that they always deliver.