- “Eye-opening and Disturbing”
- “The first time in ten years I’ve actually heard an Afghan’s voice”
- “I’ve made a film in Afghanistan. I’ve seen the results of other trainings. Nothing compares to what your trainees have accomplished.”
Those are a few of the hundreds of viewer’s responses to The Fruit of Our Labor short-films produced by Afghans during CSFilm’s documentary production training last fall. It has been a very rewarding few months. The films have created the kind of response we hoped for. They have helped Americans see another side of Afghanistan beyond the relentless battlefront coverage of the western media. These films allow Americans to understand more about who Afghans are, the challenges they face and the efforts they aremaking to move their lives, communities and country beyond its terrible past. Understanding what Afghan civilians face should play an important part in our considerations of what our role should be in Afghanistan. There are very real humanitarian concerns beyond our interests to get our own troops out.
Since December I am very thankful for all the effort individuals, organizations, and communities have put into organizing presentations and screenings. This commitment has allowed the films and work of Community Supported Film to be presented at dozens of venues during a 19 city tour, including: The Asia Society – NYC, The US Institute of Peace – DC, Harvard, Tufts, Boston and Carnegie Mellon Universities and a live event between Kabul and Pittsburgh at Conflict Kitchen – a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the US is in conflict with.
My tears at the end of the Conflict Kitchen event surprised me. A video connection between the audience in Pittsburgh and the filmmakers in Afghanistan allowed the two groups to virtually share a meal of Bolani while watching a selection of the films. The screening was followed by a wonderfully engaging conversation full of revelations, ideas and hopes. The bridge building between communities was direct. It brought together all my dreams for the work of Community Supported Film: the training in Afghanistan led to the making of revealing stories, which then provided a unique opportunity for public engagement and education.
Please help us make the most of these remarkable films and organize a screening in your community. We are planning now for our summer and fall screenings. We are especially interested in opportunities to create direct conversations between your community and the filmmakers and others in Afghanistan. Please email info[at]csfilm[dot]org with your ideas.