I was asked by Basir Seerat the director of the Afghan Documentary Film Festival (ADFF) in Sweden to help him holding the second round of festival in Stockholm. Each year, the festival presents a selection of cutting-edge documentaries about Afghanistan. These films are mirroring the typical life of Afghanistan through the anthropological eyes of Afghan filmmakers.
Somaya Reezai political activist and blogger and Basir Seerat, film director
Festival was held in five different categories, best Afghanistan documentary, best Human rights documentary, best cinema directs, best international film and best woman film. Most of filmmakers represented the new generation of Afghanistan.
Actually as a social media influencer, cooperating with festival was a new chance for me to connect with a new group who are working in another part of Afghanistan Media. And I was really affected by their point of view. Afghanistan Introduction from behind their camera’s eye.
Creating and expending this platform is a base to share stories of those lives affected by war, discrimination and injustice, very engaged stories of those who courageously resisted oppression and fought against violence with the dream that one day they may create a more human world, also about wars and all those anti-cultural extremists have unfortunately marginalized artists.
Cinema in Afghanistan
Basir Seerat the well-known afghan filmmaker, graduated with Fine Arts degree form Kabul University, theater and cinema department, Atelier Varan Kabul and Paris, directing documentaries “Type cinema direct”. He did some magnificent short doc films for French production and his career collaborations include working with international directors such as, Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf. Says: “After new government in Afghanistan, beside the political changes, documentary cinema has also completely changed, Documentary afghan filmmakers believe that there existed no documentary cinema before these 13 years new government. Unfortunately most of new filmmakers generation forced to leave the country in between these 13 years, due to the circumstances happened for them. Now they are a caught generation in Europe to work for cinema in a safer place. It is very awful that Afghanistan has not enough capacity to keep these forces who play essential role in culture and art”
Sediqa Dawlat Rezaee, a change maker using Cinema tool in Afghanistan.
A short view on the history of Afghanistan cinema
First movie was “love and friendship” in 1947, but because it was a share work between Afghanistan and India, so people know “like Eagle” the first Afghan movie was made in 1967 that Zahir Howaida the famous afghan singer played in it.
By the way, the 44 years old Afghan cinema was in men hands, generally a men look was rolling it, men were directors, most of players were men, and even the subjects were men.
When the giant 1500 years, Buddhas on the Silk Road at Bamyan were destroyed by radical Taliban clerics in March of 2001 in accordance with a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, even the Afghan populace was stunned by the disrespect for their own cultural heritage. It was the most shameful point in history of Art in Afghanistan.
Women in Afghanistan cinema
Post Taliban a new generation came to play their own role in Afghanistan cinema; there was a wider platform and better opportunity for women and minorities. Women could bravely change the cinema structure. Female perspective entered, women players, women subjects and even women filmmakers as change makers start to raise their voice and show a different part of lives inside the traditional society.
It is a very hard job in traditional and religious society to make film. People have a bad thought about cinema actresses; this sight even goes to the men actors.
Sediqa Dawlat Rezaee is a change maker using Cinema tool in Afghanistan, she was born in Afghanistan, living in Paris, and she is the mother of three children. Her family force to migrate to Iran when she was child, then she came back in 2004 and start studding cinema in Atelier Varan which was supported by Goethe Institute and French institute in Kabul, she made seven documentary films and her films were awarded by different national and international festivals, such as Kabul festival and Germany Leipzig festival.
“It’s hard to live as a filmmaker in my country but it is worse if you are a lady. I beard many problems from sabotage and opposition till displaced pity. Threat and isolation. But all of these could not be a cause to stop working for Afghanistan cinema but a reason for encouragement”. Sediqa said.
She also includes: “As a lady, I want to ask the men in my county to let the women to breath freely, as a human we have the same right as men to be free. I am not minus thinker but if women situation is continuing like now, I see a gray future for Afghan women. It is sad but we need to be realistic and just stand up to change”
ADDF was held in 12-14 December 2014 and, Sediqa Dawlat Rezaee the director of the “stay alive” which was about hardness life of sick children and their mothers in Afghanistan hospitals, lack of facilities in health system and law education and experience of doctors, awarded the best film in “Best women film” part.