Mehreen Jabbar was born on 29 December 1971 in Karachi. She is a noted Pakistani film-maker and television director/producer. She grew up around Pakistan's show business. Her father, Javed Jabbar has been a filmmaker, and a very successful ad man apart from a senator and a cabinet minister.
After receiving a BA degree from St. Joseph's College in Karachi, Mehreen went to USA to study film and completed a two-year programme at University of California Los Angeles in 1993, with a Film, Television and Video certificate, and returned to Pakistan to direct and produce drama serials under the banner of Tasveer Productions, almost all of which were critically acclaimed by Pakistani press.
Mehreen directed her first play in 1994, called Nivala, which was an adaptation of Ismat Chughtai's short story. But the play never made it to the television screens, having been refused by state-run television channel PTV on the grounds that it was an Indian writer's work. It was a setback for Mehreen but she continued working for television and since then has made several award winning telefilms and TV series for numerous TV channels in Pakistan, in addition to a number of short films which have aired in festivals worldwide.
Ramchand Pakistani is her first feature-length film, which was released in Pakistan, India and the UK to wide critical and audience acclaim. The film premiered in the competition section of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in 2008. It won the FIPRESCI PRIZE from the International Federation of Film Critics and received Honourable Mention by the 13th Annual Satyajit Ray Awards at the London Film Festival 2008 as well as the Audience award at the Fribourg International Film Festival. The film had a week long screening at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.
Mehreen has been a member of the Central Board of Film Censors in Karachi, a founding member of WAR (War against Rape), the Kara Film Festival in Karachi, and has also served as a juror at the Leeds International Film Festival. Recently she was the Artistic Director and Directing Mentor at the Maisha Film Lab in Uganda, a non profit film lab founded by director Mira Nair. Mehreen currently resides in New York City.
The Pakistani film Ramchand Pakistani directed by Mehreen Jabbar won the popular Public Award (the People’s Choice Award), presented on March 21, the final night of the prestigious Fribourg International Film Festival in Switzerland.
Audience members viewed over 13 outstanding films from around the world, and Ramchand Pakistani secured the highest number of 'First Preference' votes. Countries whose films were also featured in the main competition included India, Germany, China, France, Iran, Algeria, Brazil, Belgium, Mexico, Chile, Colombia and South Korea.
The Public Award at Fribourg includes a cash prize of 5,000 Swiss Francs for the Producer of the film. The award is sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SIDA).
Director Mehreen Jabbar attended the five-day festival as a guest. She answered questions and comments from jam-packed audiences which warmly applauded the film at the end of each of its three screenings.
This is the fourth major international award won by Ramchand Pakistani since its release at international Festivals in 2008.