Boats Above My House

: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Production


Three families labor to restore their disaster-strewn lives in the remote northern region of Pakistan. When a natural disaster submerges their villages under a newly formed lake they have to find a new place for resettlement. 


Three hundred feet below the calm waters of a newborn lake in northern Pakistan are the homes, lands and histories of 25,000 people, all drowned and decaying. On January 4th, 2010 a massive landslide in Attabad village caused a blockage of the Hunza River; within 6 months, Attabad Lake emerged in the valley below. Thirteen miles of water submerged three generations-old villages, forcing entire communities to take refuge in shelters. The resultant severing of Karakoram Highway, the main infrastructure between Pakistan and China, left families even more isolated. Our story follows three former residents in their post-disaster exile. MALIKA was widowed by the landslide and mourns for the loss of her home while she and her children languish in the poor conditions of what was meant to be a temporary shelter. DEEDAR, whose remaining farmland is on the brink of another landslide, shuffles his family between the dangerous lands they must farm to survive and the difficult conditions of a shelter. ZAREENA, whose successful businesses are now in ruins, struggles with debts she cannot repay.


The film is a poetic narrative that adopts a “first person” perspective within the cinéma vérité tradition. Long takes invite viewers to join the characters’ pace of life. Observational scenes with characters are punctuated by their own voices to serve as omniscient self-narration. There is no non-diegetic music or score. We believe that experimental and new forms of filmmaking are necessary in order to break the often narrow conventions of storytelling. By embracing the interactive style of cinéma vérité, we aim to push the medium while capturing a compelling social issue story.


Rehana Esmail - Director

Rehana Esmail is an independent filmmaker born and raised in Germany, currently based in New York. Her work ranges from poetic cinema to documentary filmmaking while having a particular interest in the relationship between cinema, philosophy and anthropology. She has completed one short film Loin De Nous (2014) which has been screened at various film festivals, as well as several short documentaries and videos for the web. She holds a master’s degree in Media Studies from The New School.

Daniel Garcia - Editor


Daniel Garcia is a winner of the 2015 “Someone to watch” Independent Spirit Award for his film “H.”, which he co-directed with his partner, Rania Attieh. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival and then went to be presented at Sundance Film Festival 2015, in the NEXT competition, and at the 65th Berlinale Forum 2015.
Named among the 25 faces of independent film by Filmmakers Magazine in 2011, he is also 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and 2012 U.S. Rockefeller Fellow in film. “Ok, Enough, Goodbye,” 2011, his feature film debut, has received many supporting grants (CINEREACH, SANAD) and garnered rave reviews (Variety, Hollywood reporter, Cahiers du Cinema, Reuters) and Best New Director from the Arab World in Abu Dhabi Film Fest, A Jury Prize in San Francisco IFF, Torino FF, Buenos Aires (BAFICI), Philadelphia and Belfort.


Daniel works as a freelance editor on feature films and music videos – the last two features he worked on both premiering at the Berlinale Forum, 2016. He is from South Texas, USA. He holds a BA in Philosophy before he went on to receive his MFA in film from New York University, Tisch Graduate School of the Arts.


Jessica Kingdon - Producer

Jessica Kingdon is a Brooklyn-based producer/director with a dynamic background in narrative, documentary, and experimental work. Her films have been screened in NYC and internationally. She is an active member of the Brooklyn Filmmaker's Collective, an organization and was a resident at Union Docs in NYC. Jessica is currently working on her documentary "Commodity City" based in Yiwu, China, as well as co-producing the feature film "Old Stone" which premiered at the Berlinale Forum, 2016.

Sina Zekavat - Co-Producer

Sina Zekavat is an architecture postgraduate currently living and working in New York. His research is focused on the overlapment of human geography, informal urbanism and architecture without architects. He currently collaborates with City Laboratory, a design, research and educational studio based in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 

Salar Kazim - Line-Producer

Salar Kazim is an Islamabad based chartered accountant from Hunza and is working on various freelance projects. Currently he is involved in tourism ventures that take place in Northern Pakistan.


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