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PRODUCTION Norway / Sweden

Iram Haq making a film about how she was kidnapped by her own parents

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- Currently shooting in Sweden, What Will People Say – Haq’s second feature – has no happy ending, “since the gap between the two cultures remains so wide”

Iram Haq making a film about how she was kidnapped by her own parents
What Will People Say: Director Iram Haq (right) with her lead actress, Maria Estanegzai (© Mer Film)

“When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped by my own parents and forced to live for one-and-a-half years in Pakistan. I have waited until I felt ready as a filmmaker, and as a person, to tell this story in a wise and sensible way – ie, without making the girl appear simply as a victim, and her parents merely as the perpetrators. I wanted to make this film as an impossible love story between two parents and their child – without a happy ending, since the gap between the two cultures remains so wide,” says Norwegian-Pakistani actress-writer-director Iram Haq

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“So What Will People Say [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Iram Haq
film profile
]
 is my most personal film to date,” adds Haq, who has started principal photography for her second feature in Gothenburg, Sweden, with Norway, India and Germany also on the shooting schedule. Like her award-winning debut, I Am Yours [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 (2013), it is being produced by Maria Ekerhovd of Mer Film, this time with Lizette Jonjic and Madeleine Ekman of Zentropa Sweden, Swedish regional film centre Film Väst and Germany’s Rohfilm.

Also scripted by Haq, the film follows 15-year-old Nisha, who lives a double life with her parents in Norway. At home, she follows Pakistani traditions and values, ​​but outside she lives like any other Norwegian teenager. One day, Nisha’s father finds her in bed with her boyfriend – filled with rage and shame, her parents take her home to Pakistan. “It is a beautiful and poetic film, but still the brutality she has to live through is a focal point of the story,” Haq explained. 

Starring Maria EstanegzaiAdil Hussain and Ekavali KhannaWhat Will People Say will be released domestically by Mer Filmdistribusjon, while Germany’s Beta Cinema handles the international sales. 

Educated at Norway’s Westerdals School of Communication, Haq was selected for competition at Venice in 2004 with her short film Old Faithful; her I Am Yours, about a Norwegian-Pakistani single mother in Oslo,won the NDR Film Prize at the Nordic Film Days in Lübeck.

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