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In celebration of 5 years of the It Happens Only In Pakistan storytelling competition, and Deutsche Welle (DW) invite you to explore Pakistan and celebrate the best of its culture and compete to win prizes worth more than Rs1.5 million.

Chosen films and filmmakers will also be honoured at Pakistan’s one-of-its-kind documentary film festival and awards show which will be held in Karachi later this year.

The contest is now accepting entries until November 18, 2022.



Accepting Entries

Photo Eassy

Accepting Entries

Video Contest

For #YearFive, the contest will award the following prizes to the best of the best films submitted:

Group 35

Rs. 600,000

1st Prize
Group 24

Rs. 350,000

2nd Prize
Group 25

Rs. 250,000

3rd Prize
Group 36

Rs. 150,000 (each)

two honourable mentions

Dawn Images 30-second Reel Prizes

This year, Dawn Images is also joining the contest with #30secondPakistan, offering participants the chance to win prizes worth Rs300,000 for submitting a 30 second reel around this year’s themes.

Reels can be submitted on

Group 35

Rs. 150,000

30 second winner
Group 24

Rs. 100,000

30 second
1st runner up
Group 25

Rs. 50,000

30 second
2nd runner up

Winners may also get a chance to work with DW Urdu on future video projects. Additionally, Winners and Finalists may be approached for partnership/collaboration with Dawn Prism.


This year we have 4 distinct themes for filmmakers to choose from




Song & Dance

Dive into Pakistan’s musical heritage and traditions, from folk tunes and iconic communal dances to the evolving future of song and dance in the country.

Cultural Spaces

Explore the cities and towns of Pakistan to uncover cultural spaces, big and small, that communities have built and come to cherish.

Nature and the environment



Our jury will look at filmmaking prowess as well as excellence in digital storytelling for online audiences.

Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

Adnan Ishaq

Adnan Ishaq

Head of Urdu Service, DW

Gul Zaib Shakeel

Former Head of Content, Teeli

Special Reviews

As celebrations for #YearFive continue, we have invited a special jury to review films with us this season and share their valuable thoughts and feedback.

Meet our favourites below:

Sarmad Khoosat

ace filmmaker, screenwriter, director, producer and actor

Lukas Arnold

Head of DW Premium Library Content for Distribution

Video Contest

Send us your entries in the form of a short video shot through a camera or your mobile phone. You can also use your own previously shot footage or animations to support your work and be creative.

All videos submitted must be 3 minutes long, not exceeding 5 minutes in total. Videos can be in any format and shot in any dimension as long as they are interesting and work for a digital audience.

Submission Dates

New deadline for submissions is
November 18, 2022.


After all submissions are received, a jury from and DW will evaluate entries and select winners.

A Special Reviews jury will be sharing exclusive feedback for all finalists.


Winners will be announced on and its social media platforms.

30-second Reel Contest

You can send us your 30-second Reels on for judging by the Dawn Images team. 

Participants in the Video Contest can ALSO submit to the Reels competition on the same subject matter as their submitted film, or otherwise.

Please ensure your Reel is produced in the correct, vertical format, works as a standalone video and is submitted as an attachment or Google Drive link to 

Winners and shortlisted finalists will be published on Dawn Images, as well as Dawn/DW platforms.

Video contest: Guidelines

  • Choosing a truly unique subject/story can trump some flaws in production. 
  • If your visuals are everyday/mundane, it puts far greater pressure on the narrative/subject to carry the film.
  • Don’t chase trends and ideas already explored/seen before. Reinventing an old idea is far harder than finding something unique/new. 
  • Focus on realism and documentary filmmaking; try to avoid the tropes of film/TV production aimed at fictional storytelling. E.g. natural sound and well-recorded interviews are often more powerful than scripted dialogue.
  • Films that are geared for digital consumption need to grab the audience’s attention within the first 5-10 seconds. Introduce your powerful story/subject fast.
  • Keep your film trimmed to the exact length needed to tell the story well. Don’t inflate your film to hit the max length allowed.
  • The competition is open for individuals of all ages, sexes and nationalities. 
  • Individuals can participate as teams; however each participant can be a part of only one team. 
  • Entry is prohibited to employees of, or consultants to DAWN and DW or their immediate family members. 
  • The entries should be original and CANNOT be a work of fiction.

Every video must follow the structure outlined below in the same order:

  • Title slide including the name of the film (3-4 seconds)
  • The film itself — we are ideally looking for short clips. 
  • End slide credits, including name(s) of participant(s)/other credits.

Participants can make the film in any language. English subtitles will be added to ALL videos at the bottom of the screen by the organisers. Please enclose a Word file for subtitles with your video submission.

Participants may use still photographs in the film. If any photographs are sourced from a third party, the source should be clearly mentioned on the credit list. Additional images, graphics, or material used to enhance the film should be royalty free content. All creative commons material must be credited.

Animation and special effects are allowed.

Participants must only use royalty free music/original background score for the film to avoid any copyright issues.

Candidates can participate in the contest by November 11, 2022 by following these steps:

  • Upload the final video file and subtitles document to a Dropbox, WeTransfer or Google Drive folder.
  • Share the link to download to — the email should also include names of all participants, and a line stating that “The film has been produced following the rules and guidelines provided on the contest website, and consent is given to the organisers for owning all rights to the film”.
  • Wait for a confirmation email. This can take up to 3 days, depending on the number of submissions received.
  • If your video is shortlisted as a finalist, you will receive a second email at a later stage.

If you have any queries, reach out to us at and/or +92-331-2444651

All photo/video entries should be original and the sole intellectual property of the participant(s). Any entry found otherwise will be automatically disqualified from the contest.

The participants/filmmakers undertake and acknowledge that the films shortlisted, and those awarded, during the contest shall be the exclusive ownership of the organisers who shall be entitled to use the same in any manner, for any purpose and at any platform as and when they deem appropriate. The participants/filmmakers undertake and acknowledge that the organizers shall have non-exclusive rights to films submitted for the contest but not shortlisted, or awarded, with the express permission/license to use the same in any manner, for any purpose and at any platform as and when they deem appropriate. The filmmakers/participants shall retain their right to use/publish the films submitted but not shortlisted or awarded, in any manner and for any purpose.

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About The Organisers

It Happens Only in Pakistan is an annual competition run in partnership by:

Deutsche Welle (DW)

DW is Germany’s international broadcaster. The flagship channel DW provides analysis and insights to viewers around the globe, reporting on important issues in English 24/7. DW is available online in 30 languages, including Urdu at is the largest English news website in Pakistan. Being Pakistan’s oldest media group, the platform offers a rich, dynamic and diversified digital front to audiences all over the world.