Cannes-Winning Afghan Director Vows To Make Film About The Tragedies In Kabul If She Survives


Cannes-Winning Afghan Director Vows To Make Film About The Tragedies In Kabul If She SurvivesFRANCE 24 English/YouTube/PA Images

Cannes-winning Afghan director Shahrbanoo Sadat has vowed to make a film about the tragedies in Kabul if she survives. 

Sadat and her family are currently trying to flee the Afghan capital of Kabul, which recently fell under the control of the Taliban.


She is one of Afghanistan’s best-known film directors, having claimed the top Directors’ Fortnight prize in 2016 for her first feature film Wolf and the Sheep. 

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sadat described how she is awaiting news as to whether she will be able to fly out from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Kabul has been in a state of chaos since the Taliban seized control of the capital city on Sunday. Thousands of civilians fled to the airport in a desperate bid to force their way onboard evacuation flights to escape Afghanistan.


Sadat noted how the difficulty of her leaving was down to ‘actually how to get to the airport and how to find the plane’. She said how the Taliban are in control of ‘the first checkpoint at the very first entry’ and that there are ‘so many checkpoints’ on the way to the airport.

In order to get through the checkpoints, Sadat said that airlines would have to provide her with the letter with exact details of the flight or confirmation that all the people she is traveling with will have seats.

She explained that she is waiting for the letter and has friends from other parts of the world who are assisting her.


After 20 years of fighting, Taliban forces rapidly advanced throughout the country, occupying all major towns and cities, before finally gaining control of Kabul on Sunday.

Sadat said she did not expect the occupation to occur so soon, calling it ‘a great shock’. She was warned the day before she entered Kabul that it would occur, however she said that she could not quite believe it. Sadat was also offered an invitation to fly, however she rejected the invitation as it did not include her family.

Sadat explained: 


Living in Afghanistan, your ears get used to hearing about how the Taliban are on the way, the Taliban are in this part of the country and that part of the country.

So you don’t really differentiate the danger anymore, because you hear these sentences all the time.

Sadat noted that the situation soon became apparent when she visited a bank nearby where she lives. She said how she saw around 500 people trying to get money out and that she then ‘saw Taliban cars with their flags’.

At Cannes 2019, Sadat warned that political negotiations with the Taliban could lead to restrictions being imposed on women across Afghanistan.


Sadat has said that if she survives the experience and is able to make more films, that her cinema ‘will have changed forever’. ‘I feel like I’m observing, I’m watching injustice and something really horrible, and I just need to save it in my body, remember it and put it in films later, to share it with the world,’ she said.

Sadat’s previous films have focused on the everyday details of ordinary Afghan life, rather than the political conflict within the country. However, she now seeks to make historical films to educate people on the country’s history and how it got to where it is today. She noted how she thinks it is ‘important for us in Afghanistan to know at least the history of the last 100 years because nobody here is reading books’.

She stated how she thinks that ‘knowing history’ is the ‘one hope for Afghanistan in the future’.

Despite the chaos of the situation and her struggle to leave the country, Sadat noted that one ‘good thing from all this mess’ is ‘the energy created from the anger because people can do things’.

Sadat does not know where she will go to upon hopefully leaving Afghanistan, however speaking of the future, she said that ‘there’s so much of this energy and we have to do something with it’.

She concluded by saying that she will ‘make films about what happened’ if she survives the ordeal.

If you’d like to help those who’ve been affected by the recent devastating events unfolding in Afghanistan, you can make a donation to the UN Refugee Agency United Kingdom here.

Topics: News, Afghanistan, Kabul, Kabul airport, Taliban


The Hollywood Reporter
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    Cannes-Winning Afghan Director Trying to Escape Kabul: “If I Survive This, I Will Make Films About What Happened”

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