Michael’s June trip to Afghanistan involved a flurry of meetings and presentations as he advanced Afghan partnerships and sought international funding for Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War. Significant progress was made during this time, with specific focus on developing a 50,000 USD key initiative to train Afghans in video production and documentary storytelling. There are now 21 Afghan television stations, an astounding figure considering that much of the country has no access to electricity – no matter television. Not one station, however, shows documentaries.
While there is a developing video-journalism and filmmaking community in Afghanistan there is limited experience with long-form documentary filmmaking. It is essential for Afghans to be communicating their issues to the Afghan public and the international community. Currently the majority of information is provided by internationals. Foreign journalists and storytellers predominately concentrate on the activities of their nationals. There is little of interest to them about what Afghans are doing for themselves. It is very important for Afghans to hear from Afghans about what is and isn’t being accomplished by Afghans.
The Killid Group (TKG, see the page: Project Partners and Advisors to learn more), BTKW’s Afghan project partner, organized one gathering at the recently restored Queen’s Palace at the Bagh-i-Babur Gardens.
About 40 people from foreign embassy’s policy and development desks, UN agencies, the international and local non-governmental community and local media organizations and filmmakers, attended the presentation. After a brief introduction from TKG founder and president, Sahir Zahine, Michael outlined the project’s goals and showed our ten-minute introductory film.
Tariq Ismati, Executive Director of the National Solidarity Program (NSP), the Afghan government community development work highlighted in our film, also invited Michael to present the project during the NSP’s quarterly donor meeting on June 20th. We are extremely thankful to Tariq and the NSP staff for helping us coordinate this opportunity to communicate with funders who support Afghan led development work. Some excellent conversations were started at this meeting with potential to bloom into support for the film and training program.
photos by Mirwais