Movies and Pakistan don't seem to go hand in hand. First thoughts of the country usually revolve around political turmoil. But the first Pakistani Film Festival in New York is hoping to change that. Showcasing its movie industry known as Lollywood.>> I'm Havovi Cooper for Reuters at the United Nations in New York.
Growing up in Pakistan in the 80s and 90s, there were very few movie theatres. Even in the largest city Karachi. And even fewer well produced films. But that is changing.>> The recent theatrical renaissance can be attributed to Pakistan's youthful population. 66% of people are under the age of 30, and are hungry for entertainment.
Each movies are up on the big screen including Dukhtar. Produced, directed, and written by Afia Nathaniel.>> I come from a family of women. There were never any guys around. So we never went to the movies. Because you just couldn't show up as girls, as women. The kinds of films that were on there, I don't think my parents would want me to see those films.
So I think it's exciting right now. Because in Pakistan the cinema and the kind of content that's being offered is a broad array.>> When Pakistan tried to get Dukhtar, which tackles the issue of child marriage. An Oscar nomination for foreign films back in 2014. It was the country's first try in 50 years.
Getting global approval is hard. That's if a filmmaker can even get past Pakistan's rigid standards.>> We're dealing not with just one censor board, but a censor board in each province. So every board will have their own input.>> Making a U.S. premier, The Bara Perse, a romantic drama actually filmed in New York.
It's got a Bollywood feel, without the Bollywood moves.>> Lot of nos.
t of can'ts. Well I don't know. Because Pakistan, people are very open to things right now. But yes, there are limits because it is an Islamic country. And we have to follow those rules.>> Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, who organized the festival.
Hopes this form of cultural diplomacy could ultimately counter stereotypes about Pakistan in the West.>> We're often viewed through single issues. Which may be of importance to the government of that country. But that's not what defines Pakistan.>>