A Focus on Afghanistan

Presenting a one day festival featuring a selection of Afghan films from Women’s Voices Now from The Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival, followed by panel discussions.


May 21, 2011 at 12 - 6pm

  • $20 Day Pass
  • 10% discount for members
  • $5 Student Day Pass

Note: All programs are subject to change

Part 1

Voices of Afghanistan

2009, Documentary by Heather Metcalfe / Afghanistan, 13 minutes

Four Afghan women talk about their experiences living through war and oppression, finding independence, and contributing to the rebuilding of their country. Voices of Afghanistan, a video short shot by Heather Metcalfe, Artfully Unforgotten’s Founder and Executive Director, during her trip to Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan in June 2009. These stories are made up of glimpses into the lives of Rangila, Dr. Nadjia, Alima and Ferishta, 4 of the Afghan women Heather had the pleasure of meeting while there.

Half Value Life

2009, Documentary by Alka Sadat / Afghanistan, 25 minutes

Marya Bashir, an Afghan female public prosecutor from Herat province, deals with criminals, Mafia bands and narcotics smugglers. At one point, Bashir’s house is blasted by one of the many enemies she makes through her job. Bashir is the first female Afghan-Hindo women’s rights activist and she focuses on eliminating violence against women. The film highlights several of Bashir’s domestic violence and rape cases in families where the bride is still a child.


2009, Fiction by Mustafa Kia / Afghanistan, 3 minutes
A young Afghan woman’s desire to buy sunglasses despite the conflict between traditional Afghan customs and western values.

A Path to Follow

2010, Documentary by Nazifa Zakizadu / Afghanistan, 12 minutes
Young Afghan girls gain confidence through a local Tae Kwon Do class.


2009, Experimental by Mostafa Heravi / Netherlands, 3 minutes
Women and freedom.

Part 2

Again Life
2009, Fiction by Hassan Fazeli / Afghanistan, 15 minutes
An Afghan woman who has husband and a kid loses her leg in mine explosion. After this incident her husband leaves her and their kid. She has to stand on her feet to continue her life and…

The Sound of the Footstep
2010, Documentary by Mariam Nabil Kamal / Afghanistan, 25 minutes
Ali Abad Rehabilitation Centre is a unique experience. Here, disabled people make artificial limbs for other disabled. Through their struggle to adapt and their life stories, we discover how many Afghan people have suffered from the war and its consequences.

A, B, C ...
Documentary by Mahbooba Ibrahimi / Afghanistan, 21 minutes
A 15-year old disabled girl in Afghanistan has a burning desire to learn. Education is not readily available to her and she faces many challenges before her mother and an aid agency finally arrange for a private teacher to teach her at home.

Part 3

Oppression of Hazaras in Afghanistan
2008, Documentary by Zareen Taj / Afghanistan, 13 minutes
The story of the Taliban’s ethnic cleansing of the Hazara people in Afghanistan has remained mostly untold. This movie is dedicated to all the Hazara men, women and children living around the world. My purpose for this movie is to tell the world about the Hazara people: their history, their culture, and their suffering…past and present. This movie will be dedicated to raising and maintaining an awareness of the Hazara ethnic group. I intend for this movie to serve as a beacon of hope and a shining light for the future of all Hazaras, especially Hazara women. I also intend for it to serve as a reminder of the history of darkness under which many Hazaras have suffered and died over the last two centuries because of their ethnicity and religion. I hope to educate those who have never heard of the Hazaras and to provide historical and cultural information to those who wish to learn more. My main focus will be to examine Hazara women lives, struggles and oppression. I wish to specifically educate the world about the dual oppression of Hazara women, and their dual identities.

Beyond Belief
2006, Documentary by Beth Murphy / Afghanistan,18 minutes
Susan Retik and Patti Quigley, two American women who lost their husbands on September 11th, find a way to overcome their grief by reaching out to other war widows half way across the world. On their journey to Afghanistan, the immediate connection forged between these widows from separate corners of the globe clarifies that “a woman is a woman is a woman” and “a mother is a mother is a mother”. Through the contrasted experience of Susan and Patti’s grief and that of Afghan women, the hardship of life as a widow in Afghanistan is revealed.

Alauddin’s Girls
2009, Documentary by Mahbooba Ibrahimi / Afghanistan, 24 minutes
Zainab is a 15 year old girl who has been living in a Kabul orphanage since she was 8. Eid-e-fetr is on the way. They are preparing to celebrate it and enjoy their Eid. The film highlights the preparations and life in the orphanage.

We Are Postmodern
Fiction by Alka Sadat / Afghanistan, 6 minutes
A 14-years-old girl begs for money on the street with her mother. A boy about the same age gives them a coin every day he passes by, pushing his bicycle. Days are passing by, all the same, the call of the mosque scans time. One day the mother dies. The girl now begs alone for money and wears her mother’s burka. The young boy passing by this time gives the girl a flower instead of a coin.

Part 4

Siah Gerd
2010, Documentary by Nadia Hossaini / Afghanistan, 14 minutes
Residents of a village in Afghanistan speak out about their addiction to Opium. In particular, the women use opium as a pain reliever and as a sedative for their children. With their husbands away at war, they need their children to sleep in order to do their work.

Value of Women?
Documentary by S. Ali Mousavi Azad & S. Es’haq Husseini / Afghanistan, 34 minutes
Women living in the Islamic society of Afghanistan are not content with their situation and lack of freedom. They believe some Islamic laws prevent them from doing the things they want like choosing a spouse, seeking an education and working outside the home.

The Sweet Melody of Politics
2009, Documentary by Mona Haidari / Afghanistan, 20 minutes
A short documentary about the life of a female Afghan singer who wants to participate in the Provincial Council Election in Kabul. The film shows this young Afghan lady thinking out of box in a male dominated society after the fall of Taliban.

Speakers’ bio

Masha Hamilton is the author of four acclaimed novels, most recently 31 Hours, which the Washington Post called one of the best novels of 2009 and independent bookstores named an Indie choice. She also founded two world literacy projects, the Camel Book Drive and the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. She is the winner of the 2010 Women’s National Book Association award, presented to a woman who has “done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation.”

Wazhmah Osman is a filmmaker and PhD candidate at NYU’s Department of Media, Culture, and Communication. With support from the SSRC, she is conducting research on the politics of representation and visual culture on the so-called War on Terror and Afghan women. Osman’s research draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Afghanistan as well as theoretical analysis relating to gender studies and media studies. She is currently working on her dissertation titled, Thinking Outside the Box: Television and Gender in the Afghan Culture Wars. Her critically acclaimed documentary, Postcards from Tora Bora, has been featured at leading film festivals, including Tribeca.

Rina Amiri currently serves as a senior advisor to the Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). Rina has been intricately involved in peace efforts in Afghanistan for over a decade. From 2002 to 2006, she worked with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and served as a member of the Special Representative of the Secretary General’s team responsible for the implementation of the Bonn Peace Accords. As a senior research associate at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, she worked with activists from conflict-ridden countries, highlighting the role of women and local leaders in formulating a bottom-up approach to peace-building. Before joining SRAP, Rina served as the director of the Open Society Institute’s Afghanistan Pakistan Regional Policy Initiative. She has provided analysis and commentary on Afghanistan and the region at major institutions, news publications and radio and television programs.

Anita Anastacio has been Senior Technical Advisor for Education for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) since August 2009. Prior to IRC, Anita worked for CARE as the Chief of Party for the Partnership for Advancing Community Based Education in Afghanistan (PACE-A). She has worked in Afghanistan for over a decade in a variety of roles and for a range of organizations, including Country Representative for Mercy Corps and a Training Manager for Germany’s Technical Cooperation (GTZ) on the National Solidarity Project. Anita has a Master’s in International Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and has been an integral member to the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE).

Sunita Viswanath is founder and board member of Women for Afghan Women, which operates Family Guidance Centers and women’s shelters in five (soon to be eight) provinces in Afghanistan as well as a Children’s Support Center in Kabul and an Afghan Community Center in Queens, NY. Sunita is editor of Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future (Palgrave/St. Martins Press, October 2002). She is Development Director of MADRE, a global women’s rights organization.

Vikram Parekh is a Policy Officer in the United Nations Peace-building Support Office. He worked in Afghanistan from 2002-9, serving in turn as Senior Analyst for the International Crisis Group, Political Affairs Officer with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), and Head of the UNAMA Southeast Regional Office. He earlier worked for Human Rights Watch (1997-2002) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (1993-7). He holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School in New Jersey and a B.A. in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

May 21, 2011 at 12pm - 6pm
Rubin Museum of Art
150 W 17th St
New York, NY 10011
United States
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