Filmmaker Jawad’s Sharif’s award-winning feature documentary Indus Blues on endangered musical instruments scored a major milestone with its selection at the CPH:DOX or the Copenhagen Documentary Festival. However, the Copenhagen based festival was not the only festival where Indus Blues had been selected in the first half of the year 2019. Director Jawad Sharif took Indus Blues on a tour of Europe from March to October 2019. The documentary that showcased the folk musical instruments from the indigenous cultures in Pakistan captivated the interest of audiences in Europe from Spain to Finland, and from Denmark to Germany.
Perhaps the most important screening in the European tour was at CPH:DOX on March 20, 2019, which is one of the most prestigious documentary film festivals in the world. Indus Blues was very well received at CPH:DOX, where the film was screened on prime slots for two nights and played to a full house each time. Jawad who attended the screening in person for the Scandinavian Premiere of the Pakistan documentary on folk music, where he engaged with an enthusiastic audience.
After CPH:DOX, the screenings in Europe took a break for the summer and Jawad returned to attend the screening of Indus Blues at Cinema Akil in Dubai on June 26, 2019. In a live performance and Dubai premiere in collaboration with Poetic Strokes and Cinema Akil, Jawad attended with cast members Boreendo musician Faqeer Zulfikar, Classical Banjo maestro Mumtaz Ali Sabzal, and Sarinda maestro Ejaz Sarhadi. Quite a few citizens from the Pakistani and Indian diaspora were also present at the event and had a hearty discussion about the often-ignored folk culture from their native land. But above all, the audiences, moved by the narrative of the film, were thrilled to see the cast members of the film perform in person.
Jawad’s headed back to Europe, as the Indus Blues tour took him to the culturally rich Berlin, where the DokuArts Film Festival was all set to showcase this documentary about the folk music of Pakistan on October 14, 2019, which was very warmly received. Jawad also spoke to an enthusiastic audience at the Zenghauskino Berlin Theater where he discussed the importance of cultural exchanges between Pakistan and countries in Europe, so that more people could discover the treasures of folk music from the indigenous culture of Pakistan.
Perhaps the most exciting stop on the journey was for the Spanish Premiere of Indus Blues in Bilbao, Spain, at the CineInvisible Bilbao from October 17 to 24, 2019.
The film was later announced as the winner of the Interculturality Award at the festival.
On his last spot on the Indus Blues tour of Europe, Jawad stopped by at the Womex Festival 19 and the World Music Expo in Tampere, Finland on October 26, 2019. The music and film concert hosted works from all over the world and Indus Blues representing the folk and classical music from Pakistan completed the potpourri of voices and notes that made the festival such a success.
On his way back from Europe, Jawad headed to the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal before returning home for the Film South Asia festival. Film South Asia is probably the only festival of its kind that curates some of the most intriguing documentaries from South Asian countries to a single platform. Apart from the dissemination of the messages of these important documentaries, the event is important for offering South Asian filmmakers a chance to meet and interact amid political tensions and to exchange ideas to bring more stories to audiences in the region and around the world.
Recognition of Indus Blues on a platform dedicated to South Asian filmmakers was critical considering the message in the current political situation. The film was screened to a full house audience on November 16, 2019, in the Lalitpur neighborhood of Kathmandu. Filmmaker Jawad Sharif attended the Nepal premiere and interacted with the audience as well, who were fascinated to see the indigenous music from cultures across Pakistan.