Director Pietra Brettkelly (The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) follows a group of dedicated Afghan cinephiles who are literally excavating their country’s cinematic past, as they seek to retrieve over 8,000 hours of film footage that they risked their lives to conceal during the Taliban era.
New Zealand, Afghanistan, 91′ Language: English and Dari – s/t English.
Director’s Statement – Pietra Brettkelly
As a filmmaker, coming from one of the youngest lands in the world, New Zealand, I am intrigued by Afghanistan with its old land and its deep history. I had been to Afghanistan in 2006 and was keen to go back, for the right story at the right time. During the years of conflict I had wondered about Afghanistan’s own film industry, those like myself. I had heard of the Archive but that not even Afghan’s knew of the films stored inside, and that I would never get access. Attempts were made to dissuade me to try. I had been mentoring two filmmakers in Kabul for some time and asked Gulistan to accompany me. On the day I visited the Archive, sandwiched between the American Embassy and the NATO compound, Hilary Clinton was in town. American forces helicopters hovered overhead and my credentials were checked numerous times as I walked the hot dusty road to the Archive. But a new Archive director, Ibrahim Arify had started just three days previously after years in exile. He welcomed me, and gave me exclusive access to a unique moment in time. I don’t believe in coincidence or luck, but in this instance that I arrived at a critical time when the story was evolving, and was given access to capture that story.