Walkabout Films-Pakistan: Showcasing Our Natural and Cultural Heritage Like Never Before!

What is Walkabout Films-Pakistan (WF)

In June 2003, Walkabout Films was established by Mr. Nisar Malik. WF is the first and only documentary production company in Pakistan and has gone on to become South Asia’s top enterprise; making films related to wildlife/nature, social awareness & cultural heritage. WF also acts as an event developer for extreme sports to promote adventure tourism in Pakistan [it was instrumental in organizing the first ever Karakoram Heliski in 2013, where 11 heli-skiers (skiers who are taken to the mountain top by a helicopter) from Canada, France, Pakistan, Russia, Serbia and Switzerland skied down the mighty Karakoram].

WF’s mission is to safeguard Pakistan’s endangered wildlife and natural heritage and work is mostly done in the isolated parts of Northern Areas as well as the South, battling the toughest of conditions. WF has done projects for channels such as Adventure One, Animal Planet, BBC Natural History Unit, Channel 4, Discovery Channel, Natural Geographic as well as many international companies, NGOs and UN agencies. This is because WF also extends full production assistance for any international documentary venture in Pakistan and across South Asia. In a nutshell they can provide the ultimate outdoor filming experience!

Services that Walkabout Films-Pakistan offer:

  • Complete support and logistics required for production within Pakistan.
  • Expert camera men and pre-production as well post-production professionals.
  • State of the art equipment for filming in a variety of formats, such as Cineflex which can be used with a boat, helicopter and vehicle as well as the Heligimbal, which is an extremely stable camera system especially for aerial filming.
  • Various means of transport such as chartered aircrafts, helicopters, jeeps, vans and water crafts.

Dynamic Documentaries by Walkabout Films-Pakistan

Making these documentaries entails a lot of patience as well as meticulousness, and on average they are completed in a span of a year, while some have taken even longer, depending on the subject. The quality and quintessence of these films is such; that WF can bring together highly skilled individuals from across the globe; specific to the needs of each project, whereas the multi-talented in-house team has been trained by professionals of the BBC National History Unit.

Some of the documentaries have been aired on international channels in Europe, the Middle-East, Asia and the USA. They have also been given substantial coverage by national and international transmissions.

In the past 14 years, some 37 documentaries have been produced on a variety of topics. Following is a complete list and the year they were made in:

2003

  • Surfing The Northern Frontier
  • Sharm Ya Shifa (Shame or Cure)
  • When Mountains Weep

2004

  • Toyota in Pakistan: A World Beyond Cars
  • Toyota in Pakistan: Driving Technology

2005

  • Rescuing the Indus Blind Dolphin
  • Saving The City of Saints – Uch Sharif

2006

  • BBC: Planet Earth Series – Mountains
  • Survivor Pakistan (13-Episode Reality Show)

2007

  • BBC: Animal Planet ‘Snow Leopard – Beyond The Myth’
  • House of Habib
  • BBC: Channel 4 ‘Fast Food Junkies Go Native’

2008

  • Toyota in Pakistan: Moving Forward 2008
  • Toyota Road Safety    2008
  • Power to The People

2009

  • Working Together To Restore Livelihood
  • Roshan Mustaqbil Ki Jaanib

2010

  • Nishan-e-Manzil – LSO Nabipur, Khanewal
  • Nishan-e-Manzil – LSO Tarala, Azad Jammu & Kashmir
  • USAID & RSPN: Partners in Distress
  • Giving Life A Chance – UNFPA Humanitarian Response

2011

  • ERRA – An Acme of Success

2012

  • The Inside Story: Fighting Fistula in Pakistan
  • A Journey Towards a Drug Free Pakistan
  • The Slopes of Stability – Making Safer Communities

2013

  • Paving the Way to Climate Resilience
  • Karakoram HeliSki 2013
  • Supporting Democratic Transition in Pakistan – UNDP Elections

2014

  • Leopards Amongst Us (Ayubia National Park)
  • Deosai – The Last Sanctuary (Deosai National Park)
  • The Walled City of Lahore – The Glory Must Not Fade Out
  • Snow Leopard Conservation – Opportunities & Challenges

2015

  • Cliff Walkers (Chitral Gol National Park)
  • Urban Wilderness (Margalla Hills National Park)

 2016

  • Taxila – Heartland of Buddhism
  • Rohtas Qila – Mighty Military Colossus
  • Lahore Fort and Shalimar Gardens – Golden Age of Mughal Architecture

 Award Winning Documentaries

 

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The incentive for making wildlife documentaries came after Mr. Malik worked with critically acclaimed TV series ‘Planet Earth’, and for the first time in history was able to capture the Snow Leopard on film; something that the BBC had been trying to do for 35 years! It was so outstanding that Sir David Attenborough (world famous British broadcaster and naturalist) termed it as ‘one of the greatest moments of wildlife television.’

Two films have received global recognition:

  • Snow Leopard – Beyond the Myth has won over 25 awards at film festivals such as Banff Mountain Film Festival, Canada; Namur Nature Festival, Belgium; Jackson Hole Wildlife Film festival, Wyoming, USA and International Wildlife Film festival, Montana, USA to name a few.
  • Deosai – The Last Sanctuary won the Prize Protection of Nature Award at the Menigoute Film Festival held in France.

Upcoming Documentaries

This year Walkabout Films will be presenting two new documentaries. They are:

HeliSki Pakistan 2017: This is the sequel to the Heliski held in 2013. Over 35 professional skiers from countries such as China, Denmark, France, Spain, UK and the USA took part and skied down the southern slopes of the Skardu valley.

Birds – Nature in Flight: It will focus on not only the extraordinary birds that are found in Punjab but also those who visit, as the Indus Basin is one of the world’s major ‘migratory flyways’ and is the main route followed by different bird species.

Many others are in their development phase, therefore we just have to wait and watch out for them!

Walkabout Development Solutions (WDS)

Another initiative of Mr. Malik, this is an NGO based in Islamabad that was established in 2005. Using the revenues from filmmaking and the accessible resources (national and international), the main aim is to uplift the standard of living of those communities situated in remote areas of Northern Pakistan, with the vision that they would in future shoulder their responsibility of conservation and managing wildlife. Many projects have been undertaken which are as follows:

The Projects

  • Funding of a Safari boat for the local fisherman in Tonsa, Sindh, who are then able to earn enough money, so that they have the means to send their children to school.
  • Two huts were renovated in the Chitral Gol National Park, allotted to be used by rangers and wardens.
  • To facilitate trekkers and tourists two septic tanks have been constructed at Ishkoman Valley, Gilgit Baltistan.
  • Funded and arranged a 5 day tour of 3 doctors to the village Matramdan in Ishkoman Valley, as medical facilities are very few. They were able to treat 270 patients during their stay.
  • Sports equipment such as footballs, cricket bats and badminton rackets were provided to schools in Ishkoman Valley, in Borth, Bad Swat, and Matramdan.
  • Understanding the vital importance of forestry, for the past many years tree plantation has been advised and advocated; so that by 2020 forests may be developed at a large scale in these areas
  • Others include fish farming, midwife training, conservation as well as construction of pathways & footbridges in the far-flung valleys.

Walkabout Films-Pakistan: The Give Back Project

Most people in Pakistan never see the amazing beauty of the wild habitats and the great biodiversity we have here. Consequently there is little or no interest in preserving it for future generations. What I feel particularly sad about is that the young people of Pakistan have no awareness of their natural heritage. The ‘Give Back’ project is designed to change all that. –Nisar Malik

And that is exactly what it has done, as since its initiation in 2012; a number of very informative and captivating documentaries have been made, which are promoting our natural and cultural heritage beautifully. Each documentary includes a number of short films which covers different topics within its context. These could be issues such endangered animal species, environment degradation, water pollution, deforestation etc. All of them have been translated into Urdu and other regional languages, and as PTV and Dawn News are WF’s media partner’s, they can easily reach people all over Pakistan.

Its chief objectives are:

  • Protection of Wildlife and their Natural Territory: Since the local communities are not knowledgeable, they are very much responsible for endangering the wildlife and its habitat, and as a result are destroying their own livelihood as well. For this reason people are being trained on how to use equipment, and then these films are being screened in towns and villages. Discussions take place so that they may gain understanding for the urgent need for conservation and how it is beneficial for them. Furthermore their problems are also being addressed, which becomes an added incentive. Currently this is underway in areas near Skardu, and valleys in Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • Educating the Younger Generation: The youth is being informed so that they may become aware and learn to appreciate all that they have been bestowed with and how they can preserve it. Until now more than 20 schools/colleges have become affiliates with over a million students. Resource materials are also available which are used for discussion and activity. Affiliation is free of cost.

Sponsoring these Documentaries

Theses documentaries need sponsorship. Therefore it provides an excellent opportunity for profitable companies and institutes or even individuals to come forward and become part of something that can help Pakistan in many ways. Anyone interested in sponsoring may visit http://www.thegivebackproject.org for further details.

What Walkabout Films-Pakistan Has Achieved So Far…

Walkabout Films is doing a marvellous job of showing the world that our county is not only stunning but also has a lot to offer, and in doing so they have brought international recognition to Pakistan in the most positive manner. It has instilled a sense of pride in our own people by making them conscious of all the natural and man-made wonders that we possess. Furthermore it is doing its utmost to reignite the instinctive bond we should have with our homeland. Its efforts are really praiseworthy and I am certain will yet go a long way. Yet more importantly we must extend our full support by shouldering our communal responsibilities and enthusing our children with the same spirit, only then will WF’s cause be truly successful!

So if you want to learn more about their exceptional work, log on to www.walkaboutfilms.tv. Here is glimpse of Chitral Gol National Park, one that has many gems of Pakistan in its midst:

The Man Behind it All: The Illustrious Nisar Malik

A seasoned journalist; passionate environmentalist; compelling storyteller and above all a humanitarian, he is indeed a man of immense capabilities.

Since 1989 he has been closely associated with media; working as a freelance reporter and producer of news and current affairs and was hired by various leading international channels and media institutes for specific assignments.

In the late 90s, ITN (Independent Television News), UK appointed him as their main producer to cover Pakistan and Afghanistan. During this time he produced many special features. This includes exposing the heroin production in Afghanistan, exposing the role of multi-nationals in child labor in (Pakistan and Afghanistan), and the documentary ‘Children of War’.

In the 2000s, he provided services such as reporting, production, logistics, security etc. to Asahi TV, Nippon TV, IJP Tokyo (Japan); ABC News, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC, Newsweek (USA); ITN, Channel 4, Sky (UK) and RTL (Germany).

Thereby he earned the President’s Pride of Performance Award in recognition of his services to Media in 2008.

 

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Hajra Saeed

Hajra Saeed has been writing for the past 20 years. During her career she has contributed to various leading newspapers and magazines, but currently writes for the special supplements of ‘The Nation’. She has written on a wide array of topics; however areas of interest are social issues, religion, philosophy and presenting a positive image of Pakistan. Has experience in copy writing, content writing, technical writing, screenwriting and teaching. Likes to read, do online courses as well as social work.