Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pakistan's first horror film - one night only! 7/3

HELL'S GROUND (Pakistan, 2006)
New York Premiere

78minutes, Digital Projection, in Urdu and English with English subtitles
Directed by: Omar Khan
Starring: Ashfaq Batti, Sultan Billa, Osman Khalid Butt, Rubhya Chaudry

Watch [the trailer] on YouTube.

TUE July 3, 10:30pm at the IFC Center - One Night Only! Director Omar Khan and producers Pete Tombs and Andy Starke will attend the screening [Buy Tickets];
Note: "Buy Tickets" links will take you to the IFC Center website (for shows at IFC Center) and to Japan Society website (for shows at Japan Society). Tickets for each venue must be purchased separately.

Ice cream mogul and Pakistani film historian, Omar Khan, has finally stopped saving the fringes of Pakistani film from the junkyard of history and he's made a movie. A horror movie. A very gory horror movie. Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets the Taliban, this flick, shot on Hi-Def, is about a gaggle of teens who head out to a rock concert and take a detour that leads them into the middle of hell. Stuffed with old school Pakistani actors (such as Rehan from the 1967 musical version of Dracula, Zinda Lash) and soaked in gore that was mostly scored from local butcher shops ("He wanted to use a real severed head for one scene," says the movie's producer of Khan. "We told him: no.") this movie shows a side of Pakistan you won't find on CNN or the Discovery Channel.

Shot during the rainy season when the Pakistani countryside erupts into radioactive green, with wild marijuana plants growing up to ten feet tall, HELL'S GROUND was shot on a low budget by first-time filmmaker, Khan, who managed to round up an impressive cast and crew for his flick, most of whom were eager to do something new after laboring for years in Pakistan's predictable television and film industry. The plot is bare bones simple: five teenagers who want to go to a rock concert hit the road in their Mystery Van. A protest against polluted drinking water is blocking their way and so they take an ill-advised detour through the countryside. Turns out that the problem with the drinking water is that it's been turning people into zombies. On top of that there's a mysterious killer hidden inside a bloody burqa racing through the forest who wants to introduce his cast-iron mace into everyone's face. As Pakistani garage rock warps the soundtrack and buckets of blood fly from the screen everyone learns 2007's most important lesson in geopolitics: teenagers in horror movies are dumb in every country and in every culture.

HELL'S GROUND is part of "From Lahore With Gore" a one-night-only tribute to Pakistani exploitation cinema that features the producers and director of HELL'S GROUND. HELL'S GROUND is the first production from the UK's Mondo Macabro, a video line that has spent decades sourcing and preserving horror and exploitation movies from all over the world, from Spain to Indonesia and from Bollywood and beyond. Pete Tombs, Omar Khan and Andy Starke have also assembled a reel of highlights from Pakistani exploitation movies that they will present exclusively at this one-night-only screening of HELL'S GROUND. So come and see the wild side of Pakistan, the side where ten-foot-tall marijuana plants grow wild, the side where mace-swinging madmen crush teenage skulls and the side that has zombies – midget, Muslim zombies – coming after your brains.

Read more about Omar Khan and Hell's Ground at
Postcard from Islamabad: A Horror Movie on the Doorstep of the Taliban

Official web site:

How long is the line for green cards?

This article paints a stark picture for those of us on the outside looking in. The statistics are mind-boggling, let alone the politics of the situation.

Kudos to all those friends of mine who are working on immigration reform. Enough hypocrisy. Equality and equal opportunity for all...

Some key facts from the article:

Your rate of progress in a given line depends on many factors. Some applicants have higher priority than others, even in the family line: The unmarried children of citizens tend to have the shortest waits, while the adult siblings of citizens come last. Diversity also helps, since immigrants from no one country can take more than 7 percent of the available visas. That means that people from China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines have an extra long wait, because so many of their countrymen have already gone through the system. In general, Filipinos endure the longest lines; the USCIS is now processing cases for married Filipino children of U.S. citizens who applied back in January 1985.

Starting in 1994, there was another way to skip the line: The Diversity Lottery, a program designed to favor regions like Africa and Europe, which have fewer green card seekers. Last year 5.5 million people tried their luck for about 50,000 green cards.