DOK Leipzig | Afghanistan from Inside
Large parts of my curatorial work are dedicated to reviving Afghan film art and introduce story telling and film production from within the conflict-torn country to an international audience. Contrary to a general belief, most of the Afghan films screened at internatinal festivals after 9/11 are have in fact been Afghan exile productions, with the authors having received a more or less privileged (film) education abroad. Only recently has part of the international film world taken note that a successful Afghan national or local film production exists not only in Kabul, but also in Herat (where an International Women’s Film Festival came into being three years ago), Mazar or Jalalabad, with its particular influences from Pakistan. It was not by chance that new Afghan film productsions post 9/11 were on the agenda of dOCUMENTA13.
The Afghanistan From Inside Special program is a result of these efforts, curated for DOK LEIPZIG in 2008, Germany’s biggest documentary film festival and one of the major venues of its kind in Europe. The program includes 16 documentary films and received a big international echo from producers, commissioning editors, festival agents and international media. A panel discussion and summit on the future of Afghan filmmaking was broadcasted simultaneously for the occasion. The Afghanistan From Inside Special special was the first program of DOK LEIPZIG to receive extensive TV coverage in Germany’s popular evening show ARD-Tagesthemen.
Here is the text for the catalogue of DOK LEIPZIG:
The DOK Leipzig summit on the future of filmmaking in Afghanistan saw Séverin Blanchet on the panel inbetween others, who with the Ateliers Varan had created opportunities for short documentary story telling over a number of years. Tragically, Blanchet died in a terrorist attack in Kabul while in preparation of one of the workshops in early 2011.
The Afghanistan from Inside Special at DOK LEIPZIG also included a photo exhibition with works of Afghan photographers Massoud Hosseini and Farzana Wahidy inbetween others.
The opening of this exhibition happened in Berlin a few months earlier. I curated Unfinished Business
with financial support of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation and Urania Berlin. Photographic work
for the exhibition also came from internationally reknown photo journalist David Bathgate.