PAK7 presentation urges film students to reach Pakistan through media

The ministry uses stories to share God's love in Pakistan.

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PAK7 presentation urges film students to reach Pakistan through media

Andrew Hart, CEO of PAK7 speaks to the Biola community about his company's opportunity.

Andrew Hart, CEO of PAK7 speaks to the Biola community about his company's opportunity.

Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Andrew Hart, CEO of PAK7 speaks to the Biola community about his company's opportunity.

Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Andres Ramirez // THE CHIMES

Andrew Hart, CEO of PAK7 speaks to the Biola community about his company's opportunity.

Jodie Stock, Freelance Writer

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PAK7 challenged traditional views of media ministry at a Cinema and Media Arts presentation on Monday night. Founded in 2018, PAK7 is an emerging television ministry that seeks to empower the marginalized church in Pakistan through producing quality TV shows, movies and video workshops. 

WHY PAKISTAN?

Founding CEO Andrew Hart emphasized the importance of PAK7 for people from all faith communities in Pakistan. Before working for PAK7, Hart worked for SAT7—the television network around which PAK7 is modeled. Although SAT7 reaches approximately 15 million Arabic speakers in the Middle East, Hart said he began to see the need for PAK7’s vision for reaching Pakistan. 

“If you add up all of the North African countries and the Middle Eastern countries, actually, those would be smaller than all of Pakistan,” he said. “And this is a nation that we don’t know very much about in the West.”

Hart said Pakistan is the sixth most populous nation in the world, and that it will grow to over 400 million people by the end of the century. 70% of Pakistan’s population is under 35 years old, he said. Because of this, there is great interest in TV shows and video productions, but Pakistani Christians rarely have the resources, training and connections to help them enter the industry. Thus, the broadcasting industry is largely dominated by Muslims, who do not usually paint a positive picture of Christians in their productions. 

“The Christians are often quite isolated,” Hart said. “I would say isolated even indeed from the global church. We in the West often aren’t good at helping the church in Pakistan, and it seems a bit of a crime… We want to change that situation for the Christians who live there and share the message of God’s love with wider society. We want to do that by producing amazing TV programs.”

EMPOWERING PAKISTANI YOUTH

Still a young organization, PAK7 has a small, intimate team that works across the globe. Head of production Naina Mall, who is located in London, shared about her work on PAK7’s first major production, Video Star, which was based in Pakistan. The project encouraged Pakistani youth from across the country to submit short self-made videos, enabling them to further develop their creative and technical skills in media production. Mall selected youth based on their videos to participate in a 12-week media school hosted by PAK7. These young Pakistanis learned from professionals, and each day they had to collaborate and produce their own media, ranging from music videos to commercials. 

Mall was not always interested in ministry work. She was an international model in commercial modeling before she joined PAK7. As a media major, Mall did not think that her degree would enable her to serve God in ministry in Pakistan. However, when she heard about PAK7’s emphasis on creating outstanding media in this way, she realized that media could have a powerful impact for the kingdom. 

“I did a full circle from one end of the spectrum,” she said. “God took me somewhere else and then brought me back hardcore into doing his work.”

Because of this journey, Mall is passionate about reaching the Pakistani youth in fresh, interesting ways that will engage them. She said that PAK7 avoids producing stereotypical Christian videos, such as music videos with repetitive scenes and poorly made broadcasts of long sermons. Instead, PAK7 seeks to be relevant in the modern age through its quality work. 

CHANGING ATTITUDES THROUGH STORIES

PAK7’s vision is to share God’s love, equip the church, raise the profile of Christians and contribute to the good of society. However, Hart said that this is best done through stories because stories have the power to change the attitudes of a society. 

“We need to change attitudes,” he said. “Not by lobbying, not by complaining about the position that [Pakistani] Christians have in society, but by wooing them, by winning them over with role models, with quality programming that just highlights the good that Christians are bringing to society.”

A specific way that PAK7 plans to do this is through a television program called “Community Makeover.” Hart said this program will highlight 10 community projects, reminding Pakistanis that Muslims and Christians can work together, and even help each other. In a country where considerable tension often exists between the two religions, television shows like this are profound.

“We’re not in the television business,” Hart said. “We’re in the business of changing lives.”

Media ministry PAK7 challenged traditional views of missions at a Cinema and Media Arts presentation on Monday night. Founded in 2018, PAK7 is an emerging satellite television network that seeks to empower the marginalized church in Pakistan through producing quality TV shows, movies and video workshops. 

WHY PAKISTAN?

Founding CEO Andrew Hart emphasized the importance of PAK7’s specific target audience. Before working for PAK7, Hart worked for SAT7—the television network around which PAK7 is modeled. Although SAT7 reaches approximately 15 million Arabic speakers in the Middle East, Hart said he began to see the need for PAK7’s vision for reaching Pakistan. 

“If you add up all of the North African countries and the Middle Eastern countries, actually, those would be smaller than all of Pakistan,” he said. “And this is a nation that we don’t know very much about in the West.”

Hart said Pakistan has the second-largest Muslim population in the world, following Indonesia, but that in the coming years, it will surpass Indonesia. Also, 70% of Pakistan’s population is under 30 years old, he said. Because of this, there is great interest in TV shows and video productions, but Pakistani Christians rarely have the resources, training and connections to help them enter the industry. Thus, the broadcasting industry is largely dominated by Muslims, who do not usually paint a positive picture of Christians in their productions. 

“The Christians are often quite isolated,” Hart said. “I would say isolated even indeed from the global church. We in the West often aren’t good at helping the church in Pakistan, and it seems a bit of a crime… We want to change that situation for the Christians who live there and for the millions who’ve never heard the Gospel. We want to do that by producing amazing TV programs.”

EMPOWERING PAKISTANI YOUTH

Still a young organization, PAK7 has a small, intimate team that works across the globe. Head of production Naina Mall, who is located in London, shared about her work on PAK7’s first major production, Video Star, which was based in Pakistan. The project encouraged Pakistani youth from across the country to submit short self-made videos, enabling them to further develop their creative and technical skills in media production. Mall selected youth based on their videos to participate in a 12-week media school hosted by PAK7. These young Pakistanis learned from professionals, and each day they had to collaborate and produce their own media, ranging from music videos to commercials. 

Mall was not always interested in ministry work. She was an international model in commercial modeling before she joined PAK7. 

As a media major, Mall did not think that her degree would enable her to do missions. 

“Missionaries don’t do stuff like that,” Mall once thought. However, when she heard about PAK7’s emphasis on creating outstanding media, she realized that media can be used in missions. 

“I did a full circle from one end of the spectrum,” she said. “God took me somewhere else and then brought me back hardcore into doing his work.”

Because of this journey, Mall is passionate about reaching the Pakistani youth in fresh, interesting ways that will engage them. She said that PAK7 avoids producing stereotypical Christian videos, such as music videos with repetitive scenes and poorly made broadcasts of long sermons. Instead, PAK7 seeks to be relevant in the modern age through its quality work. 

CHANGING ATTITUDES THROUGH STORIES

PAK7’s vision is to share God’s love, equip the church, raise the profile of Christians and contribute to the good of society. However, Hart said that this is best done through stories because stories have the power to change the attitudes of a society. 

“We need to change attitudes,” he said. “Not by lobbying, not by complaining about the position that [Pakistani] Christians have in society, but by wooing them, by winning them over with role models, with quality programming that just highlights the good that Christians are bringing to society.”

A specific way that PAK7 did this was through its television program “Community Fixerupper.” Hart said that this program highlighted 10 community projects, reminding Pakistanis that Muslims and Christians can work together, and even help each other. In a country that is riddled with hatred between the two religions, television shows like this are profound.

“We’re not in the television business,” Hart said. “We’re in the business of changing lives.”