Student filmmakers premiere documentary

Raeesa Khan For immediate release: Dec. 6, 2010

BLOOMSBURG — Two Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania student filmmakers will premiere a documentary, “Pakistan’s Cave,” Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 7 and 8, at 6 p.m. in Hartline Science Center, room G42. The screening is free and open to the public.

The 40-minute documentary is directed by Raeesa Khan, a political science and philosophy major, and edited by Andrew Protsko, a mass communications/telecomm major. The documentary parallels the history of Pakistan with the life of Raeesa Khan’s father, Saleem Khan, BU professor of economics and a native of Pakistan.

The film includes an interview with Khan’s uncle, who was held as a political prisoner at the notorious Lahore Fort after a coup in 1970s. Raeesa Khan also interviews Fatima Bhutto, niece of the late Pakistani leader and politician Benazir Bhutto.

Raeesa Khan explains that the title of the documentary is a reference to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” from “The Republic,” in which prisoners see shadows on the wall that they mistake for reality. In Plato’s allegory, one prisoner escapes only to find the shadows are not real. When he returns to tell his former comrades, they do not believe him.

“By making this documentary,” she said, “I’m coming out of my ‘cave’ and trying to make sense of Pakistan’s history.”

The documentary also touches on the efforts of Saleem Khan and his brother to build schools in Pakistan. The Khans have funded the construction of several literacy centers, which offer day and evening classes to accommodate the schedules of children who must work. The brothers have also supported construction of a high school, which is nearing completion.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.