Venice – AFP
Two Afghan female directors gave a moving testimony in the Italian city of Venice, while reviewing the tragic state of the artistic circles in the country following the seizure of power by the “Taliban” movement, and called on the international community to act.
During a press conference on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival on the situation of Afghan filmmakers and artists, 38-year-old filmmaker Sahra Karimi, who has been honored with awards at several festivals, said: “In just two weeks, the most talented artists left the country, at least those who managed to leave.”
She addressed the journalists in attendance, who were joined by the director of Almosta, Antonio Barbera, saying: “Imagine a country without artists!”
With her pale face and black hair, the director touched on the shake-up of the Taliban’s seizure of power in mid-August: “Everything stopped within a few hours. The archives are now under Taliban control, and the directors’ work dissipated in a few hours, some Some of them managed to take his computer when they fled, but others left without anything.”
“This sudden collapse made us lose everything,” added her colleague, director Sahra Mani, who, among her works, prepared a documentary about an incest victim entitled “A Thousand Girls Like Me” (“Thousands of Girls Like Me”).
The shy but resolute woman touched on the situation of the only co-ed music school in Kabul, saying, “The Taliban occupied the site and smashed the machines and the students are hiding,” lamenting that all the work done in recent years has gone to waste.
Mani, who in 2019 became the first woman to head the Afghan Film Organisation, touched on her fleeing the country. “On Sunday 15 August, I started my day as usual, and after a few hours I had to make the hardest decision of my life: either stay in the country or leave,” she said. .
She added with a sigh, “Everything has evaporated. Everything has evaporated. We are actors, directors, producers, not politicians. All we want is to realize our dreams.”
The filmmaker, who describes the Afghan artists in exile as “ambassadors of Afghan identity”, called for caution against the “Taliban” movement, saying: “They have not only become more ruthless, but also become more resourceful thanks to the use of information technology.”
“The international community must save us. Help us! We need hope,” said Sahra Mani. “Please be our voice and take up our situation.”
The two Afghan directors were surrounded by members of the International Alliance of Cinematographers in Danger (ICFA) at the press conference, a movement set up a year ago in Venice to help artists in countries like Myanmar.
For his part, Syrian director Orwa Al-Nayrabeh, director of the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, said: “We must wake up and help (Afghan artists). We must rescue them so that they can continue their work.”
He pointed out that the character of the artist today in Afghanistan “puts you in danger. You are at the top of the list, and it is in our interest to protect these.”
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