After a big win at the South Asian Film Festival last month, Afia Nathaniel’s thriller Dukhtar is being screened at the 11th edition of Dubai Film Festival (DIFF) held at Madinat Arena from December 10 to December 17.

Dukhtar was screened yesterday (December 11) at Mall of the Emirates (MOE) and a second screening will follow today (December 12) at the same venue at 5.45pm.

DIFF is held annually to promote cultural diversity through films. This year, the festival will feature 118 films in 34 languages from 48 countries.

The opening ceremony of the festival saw legendary singer Asha Bhosle and Egyptian actor Nour El-Sherif receive Life Time Achievement Awards.

In a departure from traditional film fare, Dukhtar highlights the issue of child marriage through the setup of a road-trip thriller that explores the intense drama of a mother’s frenzied search for a new life for her daughter with the help of ex-Mujahid truck driver played by award-winning actor Mohib Mirza.

The film is set against the backdrop of the surreal landscapes and roads of Hunza, Skardu, Gilgit and Kallar Kahar all the way to the urbanscape of Lahore.

Dukhtar, which had its world premier in September at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), has already garnered significant international acclaim and is the first Pakistani feature film to have won several prestigious and highly competitive film production awards, including the Hubert Bals Fund, SORFUND, National Geographic’s All Road Seed grant, Adrienne Shelly and Women in Film-NETFLIX Award.

The Pakistani Academy Selection Committee has also selected the film for Oscar consideration in the ‘Foreign Language Film Award’ category at the 87th Academy Awards.