This March, Michael Sheridan of CSFilm will be giving a lecture entitled: “The Messenger is the Message: Why I Worked with Afghans to Tell Their Own Stories” at the Massachusetts School of Art and Design.
Below is a brief description of the lecture:
Frustrated by the American media’s self-centered battlefront depiction of Afghanistan, Michael went in 2009 to make a documentary from the perspective of Afghan villagers. To match the method to the message, he trained Afghan women and men in lived-reality documentary filmmaking. The intensive 5-week training resulted in a compilation of ten short films that provide a unique view of Afghans’ daily efforts to address their challenging social and economic conditions.
As Robin Young, host of NPR’s Here and Now, reported, “Michael put cameras in the hands of Afghans and gave them training to make films about their lives. The result is an unprecedented intimate look at Afghan life with exchanges no outsider has been privy to before.” From Michael’s work in Afghanistan, he developed Community Supported Film an organization dedicated to strengthening documentary storytelling from the local perspective.
Michael will talk about the process, show excerpts from the films made by the Afghan trainees and compare them to the stories and images provided by the mainstream media. You can watch excerpts of the films here.
The lecture will be held on Thursday, March 20th, 2014 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, in the Trustees Room (11th Floor, Tower Building) Boston, MA. Light refreshments will be served at 6:00pm, lecture begins at 6:30 pm.
Michael Sheridan working with students in Afghanistan
Michael Sheridan will teach the Documentary Bootcamp course at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. The course is a one week intensive, January 13-17, 2014, covering the full production experience in fast motion: project definition, project planning, camera, editing, and presentation. It’s open to the public and to 10 students of all levels of experience. To learn more please go to MassArt’s registration page.
Students are welcome to use their own digital video camcorder during the course if it accepts an external microphone, allows for audio monitoring and has manual focus and exposure controls.
We are very excited to announce that, beginning October 23, 2013, all ten shorts from The Fruit of Our Labor will be featured on Daazo.com – The European Short Film Centre. For one month, all of the films will be available to watch, comment on, or “like” through Daazo’s website.
Daazo.com is a short film sharing site supported by the MEDIA Programme of the EU that hosts several thousand contemporary shorts. Alongside these recent films, Daazo presents old classics that are not available elsewhere on the Internet. Daazo creates opportunities for cinephiles to watch regular film premieres, follow or take part in film competitions, and find out about short film news and updates.
CSFilm is enthusiastic about Daazo’s mission and hopes our partnership will further open viewers’ eyes to the power of local perspectives in film.
The documentary shorts show aspects of life in Afghanistan that are not often covered in the Western media: Water Ways chronicles one village’s struggle to obtain clean drinking water.
Watch the video conversation with Afghan civil society leaders to discuss the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership.
“The strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the United States…is not just a military agreement. It’s a guarantee to the achievements of the past 10 years that Afghanistan has made together with the assistance of the international community…in the areas of economic empowerment, economic prosperity of Afghanistan, fighting terrorism, legislative reforms…[and] women’s rights.” – Mohammad Hamid Saboory, Master’s degree consultant to Kardan University in Kabul
“What we need from the U.S. is that insurance…that there is help for us. If it’s not soldiers with guns, it’s political…[and] economic support that will help us maintain ourselves in this region.” – Sami Sadat, Director of Strategic Communications at Afghanistan’s High Peace Council
“The idea of a political transition and an economic transition to go with, and frankly overshadow, the military or security transition is really important, but it’s a conversation that is largely lost in Washington.” - Matt Southworth, Foreign Policy Legislative Associate for the Friend’s Committee on National Legislation
“I don’t believe [there will be] any civil war after 2014 and…it’s because we’ve got a different society. The difference between now and the’90s…is that now, when Americans are talking about the withdrawal, at the same time we are talking here about the emergence of a civil society.” – Abdul Waheed Wafa, Executive Director of the Afghan Center at Kabul University
Read the highlights from the conversation here and follow us on Twitter at @CSFilmOrg.
Broadcast live from Kabul, this conversation will address security issues from an Afghan perspective, with:
Sami Sadat, Director of Strategic Communications at Afghanistan’s High Peace Council
Abdul Waheed Wafa, Executive Director of the Afghan Center at Kabul University
Mohammad Hamid Saboory, Master’s degree consultant to Kardan University in Kabul
Matthew Southworth, Foreign Policy Legislative Associate for the Friend’s Committee on National Legislation
Moderated by Peter Lems, Program Director of Education and Advocacy for Iraq and Afghanistan at the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Full bios below.
This is the second discussion in a six-part series, taking an in-depth look at various aspects of the Strategic Partnership, with a specific commitment to hearing directly from Afghans. Watch the first conversation here!
Over the course of the series, topics will include economic development, the role of UN agencies, regional dynamics, and the US military presence. This video dialogue series will highlight the important issues Afghans face in the coming years.
A strategic partnership is right now being negotiated between the governments of Afghanistan and the United States. At stake will be the number and type of U.S. forces after 2014, whether those forces will have immunity from Afghan law, what type of access they have to bases in the country, and the focus of financial assistance the U.S. will provide in the future.
These are fundamental questions for Afghans, and will dramatically affect their future and their country’s stability and development.
Because the US involvement is overwhelmingly military, we rarely hear about the goals of Afghan civil society and the type of relationship they would like to see with the U.S.
Join us for an on-going series of conversations looking at the key issues for Afghans. This dialogue will include what security looks like for Afghans, the regional dynamics of an on-going US presence, the need for assistance that supports civil society initiatives, and the broader question of accountability.
To submit questions to discussion subjects before or during the conversation, contact the moderator Peter Lems at .
Bios of Participants:
Mohammad Hamid Saboory
With over ten years of international experience and solid educational background, Mr. Saborry is currently working with Kardan University as a consultant, developing Master’s Degree programs for the institution. Before joining Kardan University, Mr. Saboory was the Country Director for the Montreal-based NGO Rights & Democracy. Prior to that, he worked as the Acting Director of Strategic Communication at the Presidential Palace in the Office of the National Security Council. Mr. Saboory worked in Germany, the USA, Canada and Afghanistan over the past ten years. He delivered lectures and presentations on Afghanistan in many conferences and at prestigious universities across Asia, Europe and North America. Mr. Saboory is a graduate of Law Faculty from Kabul University, and has two Master’s degrees from New York University and Syracuse University. He is also a regular commentator and analyst on international affairs for media outlets such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, CCTV, TOLO NEWS and TV1.
Mr. Sadat has worked as Deputy Director for Strategic Communications and as policy advisor to the Minister of Interior in Afghanistan. He currently works as Director of Strategic Communications at Afghanistan’s High Peace Council. He is also a member of a youth policy advisory group, Afghanistan Analysis & Awareness. Sadat has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Strategic Management and Leadership from the UK Chartered Management Institute. Sadat has also studied Advance Command at Staff College at the UK Defence Academy from where he graduated with highest distinction.
As a US army veteran and activist, Mr. Southworth serves as the Foreign Policy Legislative Associate with FCNL – The Friends Committee on National Legislation. While in the US Army in 2004, Matt Southworth served a tour of duty in northern Iraq, near Mosul. His experience in Iraq motivated him tobecome an anti-war activist. Southworth was eventually led to a quaker college. Southworth graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wilmington College with a BA in Political Science and History. He works on Afghanistan policy and drone issues on Capitol Hill, and motivates young adults around the country to get involved in lobbying. In 2011, Southworth organized a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan comprised of Congressional staff, journalists and non-profit leaders. The delegation discovered a number of urgent policy changes needed, and reaffirmed the fact that the U.S. military strategy has failed to deliver peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. Southworth serves on the Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace.
Abdul Waheed Wafa
A native of Kabul, Afghanistan, Mr. Wafa has worked as a reporter for the New York Times’ Afghan bureau and also helped run the bureau from 2001 to 2009. In 2011, Waheed joined the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University as the first Executive Director. Waheed is working closely with ACKU’s founder Nancy Hatch Dupree. Waheed has a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of Kabul University. From 2010 to 2011, he was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University where he studied leadership, democracy and communications. Waheed is a frequent commentator about national and international issues on Afghan media.
Peter Lems is the Program Director of education and advocacy for Iraq and Afghanistan at the American Friends Service Committee. He is also the co-coordinator of the Wage Peace campaign, a program initiative that seeks to wage peace with the same determination and energy that nations wage war.
The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC’s work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.