About SOC Films internship

This site is managed by the interns of SOC Films who join us throughout the year.

Blog Post

In recent years my dream has become to make movies at some point in the

distant future, though to be honest, in my heart of hearts, I feared it to be an

idealistic vision rather impossible to fulfill. The problem, of course, lay in my lack

of familiarity with the gradual process and collaborations that produce a

film—how on earth should one begin a project and what resources would one

need? My time at SOC films gave me exposure to that process, opening it up for

me so I can finally think of film making as a series of executable steps rather than

as an impractical goal.

From the very beginning of the internship, I found myself playing a role in the

making of a feature film from its preliminary stages. Following Sharmeen’s

instructions, I plunged into research on the movie’s topic, drawing up timelines

and lists of people to interview, and organizing photographs, newspaper

clippings and footage from decades into the past so they could be delivered for

the next step to the editor. The hard work culminated in an exhilarating trip with

the film crew on which I could observe another step of the process: shooting the

interview. As I helped the meticulous DOP’s shift around tripods and fix lighting,

I became privy to the many considerations that go into framing and sound

quality. And in watching Sharmeen carry out the interview, I understood the skill

required to engage a person and keep them on the right track in their stories for

a documentary movie.

I watched many more interviews, this time transcribing them for the editor’s

ease—which I now know is actually a necessary part of the documentary

film making process—and got to dip a hand into a bit of editing myself, to make

the subtitles for another movie. In the friendly office environment where all this

work was undertaken, I could get a sense of what integral roles others played to

make SOC films operate, and that really added to my experience.

Now walking away from that well-rounded experience, having been given the

opportunity to genuinely help out at SOC, my own dreams in filmmaking no

longer feel so reserved for an impossible future.

Anusheh Siddiqi


Of cameras, close-ups & change

“So obviously everyone knows what shutter speed is?”

All of our blank faces stared expectantly back at Nadir.

“Okay then. And you’re going to be shooting on your own?”


Feeling like we had wasted our entire lives learning everything but the dynamics of a camera, we listened intently as our new sensei went through all that we needed to know before filming our very first independent documentary.

We were filming the guard at the gate – and he had some very groundbreaking views about education in Swat!

Gul Khan had been a loyal employee of SOC films for the last 3 years and he was quite delighted to hear that he was finally getting to be in front of that heavy equipment he drove around for the crew. Three eager interns that we were, set about extrapolating minute details about his life from him while scribbling down everything and anything of interest on a recycled piece of paper we had nicked from the printer.

Gul Khan was a resident of the Swat region, his family still living there. One of his sons was working in Karachi, the other enrolled in a school as well as a madrassa back in Swat. He had two daughters too. Neither were educated. Aha, a story?

He proceeded to explain that the norms in his community were such a few years ago that girls were not put into school. The schools consisted of mainly male teachers and there weren’t separate classrooms for girls hence it was unsuitable for any girl to enjoy this privilege. Gul Khan couldn’t stress enough how he thought this norm was wrong and a result of illiterate and ignorant behavior. It obviously still had to be followed though. What would the people say?

He then proudly proclaimed that the situation was changing now and people finally understood the importance of equal education for both. There were separate schools and female teachers as well. He likened education to the headlight of a car, vital to find your way around in the darkness. Being three girls, we were delighted by his statement.

The rest of the day was a mixture of batteries, wires, sound levels, shooting frames and a series of recordings that we proudly loaded onto our computers. An amateur attempt at editing later, we had a three-minute reflection on the education system in Swat.

Well a series of unevenly filmed clips, half of them portraying a Gul Khan with no forehead.

No, we weren’t even close to an Oscar. Yes, it developed a sparking interest for this art in the three of us. As of yesterday, I have registered for a photography course online and the DSLR rotting in its bag in my cupboard has now been placed front and center on my desk.

This might just be the beginning of something very exciting.

— Maria Chawla

My Internship Experience at SOC Films, Karachi, Pakistan

Although I’m a third year student of Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Asian University for Women in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Journalism and Communication continue to be my passion . I find that my interests and dreams keep changing. At the beginning of the spring semester 2012, I took photography as one of my independent courses and through the lens, I explored the religious harmony that exists in the city of Chittagong Bangladesh. As the interest in photography grew day by day, I wished to get an internship in a media related company and looking for an opportunity that met my interests. However, by the end of the semester, I decided that I will enroll in summer courses at AUW and will not try for any internship. While I decided to stay back, the internship opportunity at SOC Films was announced and I immediately changed my mind.. After I was accepted, I started my internship over here in Karachi, Pakistan in the beginning of June 2012. In total it lasted for two months but the days went by so fast that it truly feels like it has been only been a few days.

Interning at a film company gave me various exciting experiences; I felt every day was an adventure. I obtained skills in transcribing, photography, blogging, writing, researching, and field tasks at shoots. I was able to explore different facets of production and the process of professional documentary video production which included commercial video production and a health related documentary. I also had the opportunity to gain overall production exposure, from pre-production through production and post-production. In addition, I have enjoyed researching on topics for proposals, for example, polio in Pakistan, child marriage in Pakistan, and other research such as super heroes in comics, animated movies in Pakistan and many more. The best part is that I got to research topics that I was interested in, which made me enjoy the process more.Besides, the most interesting and enjoyable tasks for me are taking photographs of behind the scenes, accompanying staff and crew on shoots, logging video archives and assisting camera man and other staffs as assigned – such tasks encouraged me to network with different people from different departments.

Moreover, I have really enjoyed the friendly and relaxed atmosphere at the company and the wonderful people I have worked alongside. Whenever I got stuck with my assigned tasks, I discussed my problems and findings with the staff and received advice and feedback that always helped me and gave me new energy and motivation. It also made me realize that although I have done few other summer projects and internships in Sri Lanka and India, the internship at SOC Films in Pakistan has been the most rewarding of all. I have really learned many different things in a short period of time.

At the end, I found that the more I’m passionate about the organization’s mission and feel excited about the work that I’m doing, the more I feel happy with my days. I’m sad that I have to leave this place very early but I’m grateful and confident that I have learned a great deal and have added a valuable experience to add to my resume. Eventually, the decision I made to give up my summer courses and come to Pakistan to do this internship is the best decision I have ever made.

Lighting up the lives of young drug addicts,Dost Foundation, Peshawar

It is indeed sorrowful to see what effects drugs have been having on the children in Peshawar. However, it makes me feel great when I see that at least there is one individual initiative (Dost Foundation) that rests all its efforts to make these addicts lives brighter, which would otherwise have been worse. Drugs can deteriorate the whole society, hitting in all that an ordinary human requires: stable family, healthy work, friendly environment and law respecting citizens. It is in fact a serious social issue, which is often ignored from getting priority.

The widely recognized drug risk factors are genes; in which genetics play a crucial role for children to become alcoholics due to having parents with alcoholism, Mental illness; when people go under severe mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or mood illness, Early use of drugs; as the person begins to use drugs at a early age and progress to more serious abuse, and Social environment; where the surrounding of an individual matters a lot in shaping ones life with positive activities. In addition, family problems such as having arguments and conflicts and behave violently with each other lead to addiction. Also, isolation from other family members and friends, and mingling with people and friends who are already addicted to drugs can also encourage others to follow them.

In many social circles, drugs are not acceptable or encouraged. However, the issue exists in many societies. Peshawar, one of the cities in Pakistan, is considered as the hub for drugs due to availability of heroine on cheaper prices. Many of the children are abused and addicted to drugs in this city. First of all, when one gets addicted to drug, it ruins lives of those most close to the individual, but society at large suffers from addiction’s rippling effects. As the issue has been easily overlooked in this society, hundreds of children are struggling with addiction not knowing that they are on a dangerous journey.

Yet, SOC Films, Ho-yakeen’s episode 3 by Dr. Parveen is another inspiring story of a woman who has decided to dedicate the rest of her life to working with drug addicted children and adults in Peshawar. Her selfless service of twelve years at Dost Foundation, and the contribution to rehabilitating these young drug addicts is truly inspiring. Besides, what really inspires about this Ho-yakeen series is, all the individuals who have put all their efforts to make changes in society are just ordinary people. This makes me feel that, you don’t need to be a celebrity or a wealthy person to help others but must have the will and there will be a way definitely. Moreover, this episode shows the consequences of using drugs as these children and adults are not aware of infectious diseases. Dr. Parveen’s boundless energy and the efforts she puts in to the Dost Foundation should be acknowledged and inspire others to contribute to these youngsters’ future as well.

Preview: Episode 3- Ho-Yakeen

When the innocent, helpless face of a young boy from Peshawar is coupled with flashes of needles, darkness and drug-addiction, something seems not only out of place, but wrong. With the slow deterioration of their lives and spirits comes a destruction of their mind and body. They begin to fear their families, the world around them, and slowly begin to fear themselves.

Dr.Parveen Azam Khan could not witness the pain-stricken lives these forgotten children led, and so she strived to help them, to make a change. She dedicated her life to the rehabilitation of these lost children whose families ignored their plight, who were trapped on the streets without shelter or food, and whose lives were finishing before everyone’s eyes.

In 1992, Dr. Parveen founded the “Dost Welfare Organisation” which aimed to better the lives of those who succumbed to drugs, whether on the streets, in prisons or even within the community itself. These children were forgotten. They were completely cut off by their families and the society they lived in. Dr. Parveen seemed to be one of the few that remembered.

“At eight, I began using drugs. When I wanted to stop, my body began breaking down – the same way a car breaks down. It felt like someone tied me up and kept beating me,” one of her patients recalls. Such a powerful thought, said by a young boy with watering eyes, is what speaks to Dr. Parveen and sparks her selfless interest, her inspirational dedication.

This episode of Ho Yaqeen is a particularly emotional journey. These are stories one only hears briefly and superficially on a day-to-day basis. But actually witnessing them and seeing the pain that is drenched in their lives and stories of these children is what speaks to one. Opening one’s eyes to the blatant abuse these young boys experience is difficult, but a learning experience.
The episode features how Dr. Parveen effectively manages to stabilise the children, and suggests what may be the cause of their turn to this way of life. The most heartbreaking part is how evident it is that they want help – that they know how desperately they need it.

“You will know the full effect of drugs when you hear their screams.” Dr. Parveen’s chilling words make one understand what she has experienced by dedicating her life to a relatively ignored cause.

This poignant episode of Ho Yakeen will air on the 15th of July, 2012.

Written By:- Azam Mahmood

City of Lights, Karachi, Pakistan

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Karachi, one of the world’s largest and the cosmopolitan cities, stands out for its amazing variety of culture, people, custom and historical places. The city is inhabited by a different variety of communities to different religious and linguistic groups drawn from other parts of the country. The city has an attraction for outsiders as it offers infinite interesting and pleasant experiences to its citizens and visitors. Though the city is quite warm, it enjoys consistently pleasant evenings due to its proximity to the sea.

As a non compatriot, having visited some wonderful places in Karachi, such as Mohatta Palace, Jinnah home, Mazar-e-Quaid (Tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an iconic symbol), sea view park, St.Patricks church, and Frere hall, and Masjid e Tooba, I must say, the marvelous city has exciting sightseeing as well as beautiful buildings and architecture along with the cool Arabian sea breeze as a way to lure people. The beach in Clifton is an excursion destination in Karachi, where many family, friends and tourists spend their evening along with the beachside horse and camel rides, amusement parks, restaurants, and swimming in the Arabian Sea. It was amazing to see that the historical buildings, which were built during the British colonial period, still enlightened the visitors with remarkable stories.

In addition, the city presents impressive shopping malls, luxury hotels, outstanding restaurants and variety of food. Also, many kinds of fruits and vegetables are available in abundance and easily accessible in Karachi. The Mango is one of the seasonal fruits that is available in Summer and I must pause to let readers know that Pakistan has one of the best mangoes in the world. Along with that, Pakistani cuisine is unique in a way that you will find traditional food everywhere along with the featured Italian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, French cuisines and a range of seafood and barbecue specialists. The Pakistani traditional foods are very delicious and spicy to eat. Also, there are varieties of activities available in Karachi for entertainment and enjoyment such as art galleries, theaters, and clubs. Besides, people are very sociable and very friendly to mingle with. I’m pretty sure that a visitor in Pakistan will enjoy the treatment and the care s/he receives at someone’s home. Having experienced the life in Karachi for a short period, I would say that living in Karachi is exciting as well as an enriching diverse cultural experience, which you will gain at the end of your journey. I have decided that I will make another trip to explore the unseen beauty of the rest of the Pakistan.