Filmmaker Sahraa Karimi’s plea: ‘Don’t recognise Taliban govt in Afghanistan’
The head of Afghanistan’s state-run cinema company has called on the international film community to push their respective governments to boycott recognising the Taliban administration in Kabul. Sahraa Karimi made the clarion call on the sidelines of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada.
A filmmaker and activist, Sahraa Karimi became the first woman to head Afghan Film back in 2019.
“I believe we shouldn’t be silent. Politically, filmmakers should raise their voice and push decision-makers not to recognise the Taliban,” she said in a virtual conversation with Afghan-Canadian director Tarique Qayumi.
She asked filmmakers around the world to join in an “act of resilience” and tweet out the hashtag #DoNotRecogniseTaliban. Sahraa Karimi, who escaped Kabul soon after it fell to the Taliban, had been given the scope to express her views on the Afghan crisis at the TIFF and the Venice Film Festival.
The filmmaker said if the international community recognises the Taliban government, the future of those like her, especially women, “will be destroyed”.
As chairperson of government-run Afghan Film, she hasn’t heard yet from the Taliban-run ministry of information and culture, except for an advisory that says women in Afghanistan should remain at home.
Karimi was included into the TIFF’s programme just two days before the festival commenced on September 9.
Sahraa Karimi had rushed to Kabul airport on August 15, but due to the chaos surrounding the airlift ops, it took her nearly 40 hours to get a flight out of Afghanistan. She travelled with her brother’s family, and was accompanied by two female assistants, as she first went to Istanbul before heading to Kiev later on.
She is also a director, and her debut feature, Hava, Maryam, Ayesha, a women-centric project, was the first fully Afghan production in a long time. It was filmed entirely in Kabul in Afghanistan with a cast of Afghan actors. It received critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival.
Sahraa Karimi’s next film is unlikely to be filmed in her home country, now run by the Taliban group. She said it will be about the experience of fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban assumed control, and it is tentatively titled: Flight from Kabul.
“It’s very important to tell this story,” she said, adding that project may be filmed elsewhere unless a “miracle” occurs.