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Afghanistan Hosts First Women’s Film Festival

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Download This year Afghanistan hosted its first Women’s Film Festival.

A total of 45 were submitted - all directed by women from different countries, including female directors from Afghanistan.

The films produced by Afghan female filmmakers demonstrate the strength of Afghan women to the international community.

Ghayor Waziri talks to one of the stars of the festival.

The film “Setaraha” or ‘stars’, attracted the largest audience during the Afghan women’s film festival.

The story is about a group of Afghan women travelling to the United States to start a business.

Fakhira Ebrahimi is the film’s director.

“I started film making about five years ago. I was inspired by my trip to the US with a group of women. It was my first trip abroad, it was also the first for most of the group. When we were there, I saw how Afghan women were able to adapt easily to new things in a new society and country which was more advanced than ours. That inspired me to make a film to show what Afghan women can do. That women can be businesswomen, make business plans, travel by themselves and be strong in their work.”

Fakhria is one of the few female film directors in Afghanistan to focus on women.

She has directed 4 films and all are about the plight of women.

“I’m interested in documentary making because it reflects the truth about our society. My first film was about the physical challenges of  a women who worked with only her left hand and the problems that she faced.”

But “Setaraha” is the first film of hers to be shown at a film festival.

“I can’t tell you what I feel... I want to cry... I’m very proud of my work ...that I can show the lives of real Afghan women in my film... about their problems and strengths.”

The first women’s film festival in Afghanistan was launched on this year’s International Women’s Day.

It aims to encourage Afghan filmmakers says Zahra Mobtakir, from the NGO the Open Society Organisation.

“This year we want to show woman and their courage. We received 45 films for the festival, all are directed by women. The films firmly demonstrate how strong Afghan women are.”

Afghanistan produced dozens of films up until the 1980s, but the film industry was destroyed by the civil war and the Taliban, who banned TV and cinemas during their time in power.

After the fall of the Taliban, the situation improved and in the past few years women have started working in the film industry.

And the women’s film festival is a major turning point for women in Afghan society.

But as a filmmaker, Fakhria still faces many challenges.

“I’m always under a lot of stress. People have asked me to show my films on local TV stations, but I don’t want to because I’m afraid of the reaction from our conservative and traditional society. I have security concerns for myself and my colleagues. Our culture doesn’t allow women to become filmmakers or actresses. I know that some of my family don’t like my job. But now I believe that if I show my film, I’m ready to face the public reaction.”

23-year-old university student Nabila  Koorash has a great respect for all the Afghan female directors taking risks to show the plight of women in Afghanistan.

“If the film directors continue making films like these, I believe there will be a lot of changes in society. Films can have a big impact on society, it’s not like a poem or an article that only educated people can understand. Through films, both educated and uneducated people can learn a lot.”


Last Updated ( Monday, 18 March 2013 15:29 )  

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