Solidarity Screening: Far From Afghanistan (2012)

© Far From Afghanistan

John Gianvito, Jon Jost, Yoo Soon-mi, Minda Martin, Travis Wilkerson

USA / AF 2012
129 min | HD | English, Paschtu, Dari
E: John Gianvito, Pacho Velez, Rob Todd | S: Travis Wilkerson, John Gianvito, Jon Jost, Minda Martin, Yoo Soon-mi, Afghan Voices | P+Sales: Traveling Light Productions

wednesday 13 oct 5.00 pm werkstattkino | Entrance fee: 10 Euro
Revenues go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) |

guest: Ali Khorosh Fazli Bayat (KINO ASYL)

An inventory of the psycho-physical damage left by the war in Afghanistan. It’s 2012, as we now know today about halfway through the military campaign. Critically, the effects of the war on people are being reappraised: Adults and children, Afghans and U.S. military personnel. A statement of solidarity with the Afghan people and the victims of the war.

John Gianvito | My Heart Swims in Blood
A mosaical journey through a dark night of the soul.
Jon Jost | Empire’s Cross
A poetic evocation of the circumstances instigating America’s attack on Afghanistan
Minda Martin | The Long Distance Operator
About a drone pilot in Palmdale, California, who learns about the impact of his role in the war in Afghanistan.
Travis Wilkerson | Fragments of Dissolution
A poetic, anguished cry from the heart of a rotting empire.
Yoo Soon-mi | Afghanistan: The Next Generation
Archival footage from different historical moments.

Memories of Afghanistan

On August 13, Sahraa Karimi, director of the Afghan Film Organization, launched a call for help: “Do not let Afghan cinema die. Even if you are in exile.” Filmmaking in Afghanistan, she said, is in danger; much of its cinematic heritage was already destroyed in 1996 when the Taliban invaded Kabul. This upsetting news reminded us of the film FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN which was part of the 8th UNDERDOX Festival programme. It was made directly from inside the war machine, as a collective project of American independent directors John Gianvito, Jon Jost, Minda Martin, Travis Wilkerson and Yoo Soon-mi. They deliberately followed up on the legendary LOIN DU VIETNAM (1967), directed by Joris Ivens, Claude Lelouch, Chris Marker and Agnès Varda, among others. John Gianvito writes us today:
”In my view our film has, sadly, lost little of its relevance. I’ve been regularly in touch the past weeks with one of the members of AFGHAN VOICES who filmed many of the sequences in the film and sadly he and his family were unable to leave the country despite repeated efforts to get through the crowds at the Kabul airport. Just one of the thousands of stories out there, though we are continuing to pursue alternative solutions”.

On September 23, this message comes from Sahraa Karimi via Twitter: “I am now officially Former Afghan Film Director General. Done.”

UNDERDOX shows FAR FROM AFGHANISTAN (2012) in a solidarity screening. Entrance fee: 10 €.
Revenues go to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Call of Help by Sahraa Karimi,
Director of the Afghan Film Institute

August, 13 via Social Media

To All the Film Communities in The World and Who Loves Film and Cinema!

My name is Sahraa Karimi, a film director and the current general director of Afghan Film, the only stated-owned film company established in 1968.

I write to you with a broken heart and a deep hope that you can join me in protecting my beautiful people, especially filmmakers from the Taliban. In the last few weeks, the Taliban have gained control of so many provinces. They have massacred our people, they kidnapped many children, they sold girls as child brides to their men, they murdered a woman for her attire, they gauged the eyes of a woman, they tortured and murdered one of our beloved comedians, they murdered one of our historian poets, they murdered the head of culture and media for the government, they have been assassinating people affiliated with the government, they hung some of our men publicly, they have displaced hundreds ofthousands of families.

The families are in camps in Kabul after fleeing these provinces, and they are in unsanitary condition. There islooting in the camps and babies dying because they don’t have milk. It is a humanitarian crisis, and yet the world is silent. We have grown accustomed to this silence, yet we know it is not fair. We know that this decision to abandon our people is wrong, that this hasty troop withdrawal is a betrayal of our people and all that we did when Afghans won the Cold War for the west. Our people were forgotten then, leading up to the Taliban’s dark rule, and now, after twenty years of immense gains for our country and especially our younger generations, all could be lost again in this abandonment.

We need your voice. The media, governments, and the world humanitarian organizations are conveniently silent as if this “Peace deal” with the Taliban was ever legitimate. It was never legitimate. Recognizing them gave them the confidence to come back to power. The Taliban have been brutalizing our people throughout the entire process of the talks. Everything that I have worked so hard to build as a filmmaker in my country is at risk of falling. If the Taliban take over they will ban all art. I and other filmmakers could be next on their hit list. They will strip women’s rights, we will be pushed into the shadows of our homes and our voices, our expression will be stifled into silence.

When the Taliban were in power, zero girls were in school. Since then there are over 9 million Afghan girls in school. This is incredible Herat, the third-largest city which just fell to the Taliban had nearly 50% women in its university. These are incredible gains that the world hardly knows about. Just in these few weeks, the Taliban have destroyed many schools and 2 million girls are forced now out of school again.

I do not understand this world. I do not understand this silence. I will stay and fight for my country, but I cannot do it alone. I need allies like you. Please help us get this world to care about what is happening to us. Please help us by informing your countries’ most important media what is going on here in Afghanistan. Be our voices outside Afghanistan. If the Taliban take over Kabul, we may not have access to the internet or any communication tool at all.

Please engage your filmmakers, artists to support us to be our voice.This war is not a civil war, this is a proxy war, this is an imposed war and it is the result of the US deal with the Taliban. Please as much as you can share this fact with your media and write about us on your social media. The world should not turn its back on us. We need your support and your voice on behalf of Afghan women, children, artists, and filmmakers. This support would be the greatest help we need right now. Please help us get this world to not abandon Afghanistan. Please help us before the Taliban take over Kabul. We have such little time, maybe days. Thank you so much. I appreciate your pure true heart so dearly.

With regard,

Sahraa Karimi

Afghan Voices: We Will Live Again

By Ashya B.

I promise you I will hold your hands again.
I promise you we will meet forever.
We will survive, no matter that the Taliban is here.

I promise you we will breathe the fresh air again.
We will walk along the beach with big smiles on our faces.
And drink coffee in the café where we used to drink coffee before.
Go outside without fear and without Chadari
We will wear colorful clothes.
Laugh out loud on the street again.

I promise you we will sit together again, gossiping about colleagues.
And visit each other secretly, staying awake till late in the night.
We will shop for each other.
And imagine our future together once again.

I promise you we will argue about choosing our kids’ names.
We’ll eat milky cake in the restaurant.
Talk on the phone over my balcony till midnight.
And even chitchat all night.

I promise you we will fight about stupid things.
And make up after each dispute.
I promise you we will do silly things on the street.
And I’ll make you jealous again in the workplace.
But you will make me feel special with surprises.

I promise you we will meet again.
And we will live again.
No matter how hard the time or how long it takes.
This I know, the time will come.
And I will fulfill all my promises.

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