Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Kicks Off with North American Premiere of ‘Shah’

By David Maley, February 10, 2016

Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Kicks Off with North American Premiere of ‘Shah’

ITHACA, NY—The North American premiere of the internationally acclaimed Pakistani feature film “Shah” will kick off the 19th annual Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival on Sunday, Feb. 21. The screening will take place at 4:30 p.m. at Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St.

The first 50 audience members will be admitted for free; otherwise the ticket price is $9 ($8.50 for seniors).

Adnan Sarwar, the film’s producer, director, screenwriter, lead actor and composer, will take part in a discussion following the screening. Raza Rumi, Scholar in Residence in the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences and a leading voice against extremism and human rights violations in Pakistan, will moderate the discussion.

“Shah” is a 2015 film based on the life of Hussain Shah, who grew up homeless on the streets of the Lyari district of Karachi and later rose to prominence as the best boxer in South Asia, winning the bronze medal at 1988 Summer Olympics. Soon after his Olympic success, Shah was forgotten by the people of Pakistan and fell back into a life of poverty before being given one last chance for glory. 

Despite being produced as an independent film on a shoestring budget, “Shah” has been hailed as a major achievement for the Pakistani film industry. Sarwar — who underwent a six-month long training regime to prepare for his role as Shah — has set up a boxing scholarship for Lyari's street kids, who are part of the film’s cast.

In addition to the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival (FLEFF), the screening of “Shah” is supported in part by the Ithaca College Honors Program and the Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.

Launched in 1997 as an outreach project from Cornell University’s Center for the Environment, FLEFF was moved permanently to Ithaca College in 2005. Through film, new media, installation, performance, panels and presentations, the festival engages interdisciplinary dialogue and vigorous debate, linking intellectual inquiry to larger global issues.

The full week of FLEFF events, with this year’s theme of “Landscapes,” will run March 28–April 3. For more information, visit or contact Patricia Zimmermann, FLEFF co-director, at