KARACHI: A film on the life and work of renowned social worker Perween Rahman, who was gunned down four years ago, has won the second prize for best documentary at the 11th Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival.
Directed by film-maker Mahera Omar, the feature-length film Perween Rahman: The Rebel Optimist was screened to audiences at several venues in Turkey throughout the week-long festival.
Ms Rahman, an architect and urban planner, was director of the Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) — a non-governmental organisation based in Karachi. She was shot dead on March 13, 2013 on her way home from her office in Orangi Town.
The OPP provided technical guidance to low-income communities in Orangi Town for laying of sewage lines in their lanes on a self-help basis since the 1980s. She was instrumental in the development of this unique model of sanitation. Her work was based on extensive mapping of the lanes of Orangi, which soon spread to the entire city.
Ms Rahman was a champion for the youth and women of Orangi and a role model for many.
“Perween believed in cultivating human relationships. She had a very special connection with the people of Orangi. She won not only their hearts, but of whomever had the good fortune to come across her. I wanted to tell her story and that of her very important work in Karachi,” says Mahera Omar.
The film has previously been screened at the 2017 Karachi Literature Festival, the Lund International Architecture Film Festival in Sweden, Architecture Film Festival of South Africa, Beijing International Women’s Film Festival and Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.