This is Film! Heritage in Practice
Through the screening of The Forbidden Reel (CA, 2019) and in discussion with its maker, Ariel Nasr, the third session of This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice offers a rare view of the once hidden and forbidden treasures of Afghan film heritage.
This session of This is Film! zooms in on Afghan film history with filmmaker Ariel Nasr, who had unprecedented access to Afghanistan's national film archive while creating his documentary on Afghan film heritage, The Forbidden Reel (CA, 2019).
In discussion with filmmaker Ariel Nasr, this lecture offers a rare view of the once hidden and forbidden treasures of Afghan film heritage. Nasr addresses questions relating to the realization of the documentary project, and his further involvement in trying to digitize, restore, and disseminate films from Afghanistan’s endangered film archive.Introduction by Giovanna Fossati (Chief Curator at Eye and Professor of Film Heritage at the University of Amsterdam). Q&A in collaboration with the Master students of the This is Film! class at the University of Amsterdam.
The Forbidden Reel
As part of this lecture, Eye made The Forbidden Reel available on the Eye Film Player. It can be called a true miracle that director Ariel Nasr could use Afghan archival footage in his documentary as the Taliban regime (from 1996 to 2001) destroyed many artworks, including films. The film profiles the Cinema of Afghanistan through a history of the Afghan Film Organization. For nearly five years, the filmmaker Ariel Nasr had unprecedented access to Afghanistan's national film archive while creating his documentary. He combined material saved by the Afghan Film Archive and interviews with filmmakers who gravitated around the film institute Afghan Film. Through the archive - and interweaving recreations using original filming equipment – Nasr shows an Afghanistan most of us have never seen before.
Nasr and his producers actually played a role in preserving highlights from the Afghan archive as they devoted part of their film budget to digitize these films at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Montreal. The NFB wanted also a deeper relationship with its Afghan counterpart and invited the then-president to come to Montreal to showcase their digitalization workflow. The president brought that expertise back to Afghanistan.
Ariel Nasr is an award-winning, Oscar-nominated Afghan-Canadian director and writer, known for Good Morning Kandahar (2008), The Boxing Girls of Kabul (2012) and Buzkashi Boys (2012). Nasr co-founded two partner NGOs to help develop capacity in Afghanistan’s film industry: Afghan Film Project (US) and AFEO (Afghanistan).
#3: the Afghan Film Archive
This is Film! 2021
This is Film! Film Heritage in Practice is a public lecture series devoted to notable projects in the fields of film restoration and film heritage. Under the overarching theme of recycling, re-using and remixing archival film(fragments), the series will showcase a broad range of creatively reused archival footage in different settings, addressing its relevance for audiences today.
The video recordings of the lectures can be found at the bottom of this page.