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Qalambaaz is turning 8 this year! The fellowship is a six-month, remote mentoring program run under Iram's Parveen Shah Productions banner in association with Faisal Kapadia's Mind Map Communications. During this virtually run fellowship, fellows residing in South Asia are matched with (international or local) experienced screenwriters who act as mentors. Over the course of bi-monthly video check ins and a strict calendar, mentors help guide fellows' stories into full length feature screenplays. The tangible promise of Pakistan's first professional scriptwriting lab, now in its seventh year of running, is a completed full length feature screenplay at the culmination of the six-month program. 


In addition to the international mentorship, on the ground in Karachi (virtual for those not in Karachi), Framji Minwalla does film theory sessions. He breaks down international classics by viewing the films and discussing screenwriting strategies during these sessions.

The focus of Qalambaaz is to spread awareness of the structure of cinematic storytelling starting from script and our goal is to infuse enough screenwriters in the local film industries of South Asia to sustain and implement rigour in the craft of screenwriting before a single frame is shot. We believe this is one of the most urgent and initial steps in building a sustained cinematic industry in the region. 

NOTE: This program is not intended for students but for early or mid-career professionals with beginner to moderate understanding of screenwriting. 

Applications and announcements for year eight will be on our Facebook page. 

Returning sponsors include MovieMagic Screenwriting Software and a membership to Scriptd.



Hamza Bangash is a Pakistani-Canadian director, screenwriter & producer. In 2019,

Bangash was selected for the Locarno Filmmakers Academy and the Asian Film

Academy. His artistic practice is based out of Karachi, Pakistan. In 2015, he founded

a boutique production house, CityLights Media. Through this platform, he creates

short fiction films, stage plays, digital documentaries and commercials. Dia (2018),

his debut short film, is an exploration of a young woman’s grief-induced spiral into a

terrifying condition. The film had its world premiere at the 2018 Locarno Film

Festival, and received critical acclaim. His follow up short film, Stray Dogs Come Out

at Night (2019), played in international competition at Clermont-Ferrand 2020.

Bangash is currently in early stages of development on his first feature film,

MARIAM. The project has been selected for Berlinale Talent Project Market 2020

and won the MPA-AFA First prize award at the Busan International Film Festival

2019. The feature film is intended for a 2021 theatrical release.


Zahra Mirza graduated with a Screenwriting MFA from the University of Southern California. While in Los Angeles, she assisted on the TV show, Tyrant, and the miniseries, The State. After completing her feature screenplay with Qalambaaz, she wrote and directed short films in London and Abu Dhabi. She was shortlisted in the Atlanta Comedy Film Festival and Portland Comedy Film Festival for a comedy short script, and was a second rounder in the Austin Film Festival for a feature film script. She continues working as a script consultant on Pakistani dramas, including the upcoming series, Churails. 

Fahad Naveed.jpg

Fahad Naveed is an interdisciplinary storyteller working as a journalist, filmmaker, visual artist and critic in Karachi. His writing and editorial designs have appeared in various Pakistani and international publications. He currently works at Dawn newspaper. His work aims to engage with identity politics.


Fahad is also a co-founder of Mandarjazail Collective, an artist collective based in Karachi, and has shown at the Karachi Biennale. His art practice is directly linked to his journalism, and often responds to the narratives being pushed by mainstream media. Fahad’s work also reflects on his own role in perpetuating these narratives. 

Fahad is a founding member of the Documentary Association of Pakistan, and a programmer for the Chalta Phirta travelling documentary film festival. Fahad received his MA at New York University where he studied News and Documentary Film on a Fulbright scholarship. His documentary ‘Puff Puff Pak’ premiered at NYU’s News Doc Film Festival. 

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