An Arthouse Afghanistan?
Interview with Shahrbanoo Sadat, the 24-year-old female director making history with the first art house film in Afghanistan. Plus she’s crowdfunding it!
Tell us about your film
War is not the only thing happening in Afghanistan and this is what i want to tell the world in my first feature film, Wolf and Sheep. Rather than making a film about Afghanistan's political image that the press constantly show to the world, I have decided to explore the every day lives of those in rural Afghanistan. My film is about the community I have lived in for seven years.
What is the ‘real’ Afghanistan?
I’m actually a city girl from Tehran, Iran, but when I was 11 years old I moved back to central Afghanistan to live in a mud house in my parents' village. It was not an easy transition. Not only was there no electricity, water, phones, cars or schools but, as I was born in Iran, I had a different accent so I couldn't communicate with people. I also had an eyesight problem and without access to glasses I was almost blind.
The seven years living in this village were pretty depressing. I was an outsider.
Every day I had to go up the mountain (three hours each way) just to get to school, which was a boys school. I hated looking at those mountains, they were like a prison. But now I see them differently and I like the snowy mountains.
What was it like as a girl?
A couple of years ago I read in the news that Afghanistan is the worst place in the world for women. I must say I agree.
Women are viewed solely as projects. I’m not a women’s rights activist, but I am a filmmaker. I want to be a voice for females in my country. I want to tell stories about this country, its people and its beliefs.
Making a film isn’t easy, no matter where you are. But being a female director in Afghanistan is especially difficult. There is no cinema industry and no funding or support for culture or movies.
What do you see for the future?
The future in Afghanistan is very uncertain. Many of my friends and family members have left the country because they have lost hope. But I want to stay, I want to be optimistic and I want to create stories and films that everyone can watch in cinemas around the world.
To help Shahr make her film, Wolf and Sheep, you can pledge to her crowdfunding campaign at: