Founded in 2019 with a goal to produce longer form projects, providing additional opportunities for our filmmakers to realize their artistic potential and increase the visibility and impact of IYMS around the world.
Pari of Pokhara
The first project for IYMS Films was Pari of Pokhara, filmed during the 2019 Summit in Pokhara, Nepal by director/writer Babar Ali and a crew of IYMS filmmakers.
The fictional film tells a complex story of a young Nepali woman, an aspiring actress and gifted dancer. She lives in a claustrophobic run-down shack in Pokhara, exiled there before the earthquake that killed her mother and destroyed the family home. She is a virtual servant to her aunt and gets no comfort or understanding from Asha, her older sister. The two continually feud over Pari’s choice of career and new friend – the handsome and seductive Abhinash from India. Abhinash coaches Pari in her acting, but more importantly supports her dreams and gives her a sense of freedom as they experience the beauty of Pokhara’s lakes and mountains. Abhi is a human trafficker, adept at multi-tasking. He romances Pari while sending pictures of her to his Indian handlers, negotiating her price. But then Abhinash starts developing true feelings for Pari and becomes conflicted between his job and those feelings. Pari begins to trust him – unaware of her possible peril.
The film portrays the insidious way human traffickers find and snare their victims. It has been seen in film festivals on three continents. Some highlights from those screenings: The cast and crew spoke on a virtual stage at the SOHO International Film Festival (held in New York City). The US Embassy in Nepal hosted a screening of the film for 50 young people followed by a discussion. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) included the film in its Global Migration Film Festival 2021. The IOM said the film “has been an effective tool to raise awareness against human trafficking, safer migration and gender-based violence.”
Sanatione is a Latin word for healing, and became the title for IYMS Films’ second project, a web series. In 2020, COVID-19 caused a world-wide pandemic. It infected and killed millions. It forced lockdowns that brought much of the global economy to a halt, with businesses closed and jobs lost. We have come to realize this virus might be a test for humanity, a wake-up call for change.
As the virus spread, a group of filmmakers and storytellers from 22 countries did what filmmakers do. They grabbed their cameras to capture the lives and stories around them. These first-person heart-felt stories filmed in real time as the pandemic unfolds around the world are woven together to reveal the many facets of who we human beings are and of what we are made. We see stories of suffering, isolation, struggle and coping – and also stories of kindness, and moments of unexpected joy. There are also stories of other forces that rival the virus in dividing and infecting humanity: tribalism, hatred, poverty, injustice, greed and the mindless destruction of our ecosystem. The filmmakers are determined not to let this wake-up call go unheeded. Through interviews with issue experts, indigenous people, scientists and artists, these filmmakers are also capturing a vision of what life on planet earth can become – a world of equality, justice, peace and health – for humans and nature. SANATIONE holds up a mirror to humanity’s struggles, but also shines a beacon, lighting the way to a transformed world.
John is the feature film debut of Pakistani filmmaker Babar Ali, a long-time IYMS contributor and director of Pari of Pokhara. IYMS Films is co-producing with Ali’s Vaasil Productions.
John is a romantic crime drama that tells the love story of a young Christian janitor, John, and a free-spirited maid, Maria. The brutal streets of Karachi and discrimination against minorities create a trap for John, who fears he will be left alone and in poverty. He is swept into the world of crime by Daud, a charismatic target killer who befriends John, promising financial security as he lures him into becoming an accessory to murders. The pursuit of love and John’s secret life of crime go hand in hand while we explore the complexities of the mean streets of Karachi, during a time of mass target killings by hired gangsters prompted by political, ethnic and religious conflicts.
In the film, writer/director Ali examines the causes of the violence he witnessed as a young child. He shows us innocent young people who are led to a life of crime when damaged by the toxic mixture of poverty, discrimination and despair. John is currently in post-production.