Seeing is Believing
Scrolling through different channels and analyzing advertisements is my favorite past time. As a media student and an aspiring advertiser, I like to pin point the factors that make visual storytelling appealing. Very rarely do I come across material that stands out and leaves me enlightened and impressed.
One such instance was during the winter break when I came across short films by USAID displaying on television screens every now and then. A film about the Kalat Chamman Quetta (KQC) Highway highlighted how the lives of people in the region have transformed ever since the establishment of the highway. There was something about the characters that made me feel like they are extremely authentic. This curiosity to find out about them in greater detail made me look up at its filming. I was surprised to find out that all the protagonists in the film were indeed real people who had received actual benefit from the highway. The truck driver, who had been experiencing benefits first hand, mentioned that this highway has helped him save time, cost and fuel. He has increased his profits and is now able to return home early to spend valuable time with his children and family.
For the first time in a very long time, a film actually made me think. It opened my eyes to the realities of rural Pakistan and the impact of development work in the region and the communities. Visual storytelling is the only way people can find out about the work in far-flung areas from the confines of their home.
Another interesting revelation about the film during my research was that it was completely unscripted. Real life beneficiaries were hand picked and their candid conversation was recorded on film. Perhaps, that is what made it look candid and authentic. Scripted films have an artificial feeling to them but this one was different; it seemed like a real story unfolding in front of our eyes.
Another film in this campaign titled ‘Seeing is Believing’ was a film about the Gomal Zam Dam, which highlighted the impact of the dam on the region and the communities that live in the area. Real life beneficiaries of the Gomal Zam Dam engaged in a candid conversation where they spoke about how agricultural produce has increased due to the dam and how electricity supply has benefited. During these conversations, shots of the development assistance added more interest to the film and helps viewers remember the message for long.
These films have indeed helped in believing through seeing the impact of USAID’s work in Pakistan especially in rural areas. These stories show how common people in the country are benefiting from Pakistan and United States’s 70 yearlong strong relationship. Only visual storytelling has the power to showcase the true impact of development efforts on people’s lives. I was a skeptic until I saw it with my own eyes. Indeed, seeing is believing.