Afghan Film Festival Programme: November 15 – 21

13th November, 2019

The First Afghan Film Festival begins this Friday with 10 films screening over the course of one week between Friday 15 November and Thursday 21 November.

A celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Australia, as well as the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Reclamation of Independence, the Festival features films, shorts, documentaries, Q&As with special guests, panel discussions and more. Some of these films are even coming to us direct from their premieres at major international film festivals in Venice and Cannes!

All films will be screened with English subtitles and are FREE for all to attend (no membership or registration required). You can check out the full listing of screenings and events below, or head to for further information.

We hope you can join us over the next week for these special screenings and events, which are presented in partnership with the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

** Please note the earlier start times for some of the screenings on Saturday and Sunday **

• FRI 15 NOV @ 7:30 PM: HAVA, MARYAM AND AYESHA (2019, 86 mins)

Three Afghan women from different backgrounds must each learn to fend for themselves as they face big challenges in their lives. Afghanistan’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards in 2020, coming to us direct from its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival just two months ago!

• SAT 16 NOV @ **4 PM**: BEGANA (1986, 40 mins)

This classic short film stars Salam Sangi, one of the Afghanistan’s greatest film stars, as a farmer working for a feudal landlord, who is dishonoured by the landlord’s son and sets out for revenge. Sangi himself will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in a Q&A about the world of Afghan cinema.

• SAT 16 NOV @ **5 PM**: AFGHAN CAMELEERS IN AUSTRALIA (2014, 55 mins)

A documentary exploring the contributions of more than 3,000 men from Afghanistan and their camels who were crucial to development of the Australian Outback in the 1900s. Followed by a panel discussion with director Fahim Hashimy and Dr Mike Smith, academic and expert on Australia’s Afghan cameleers.

• SAT 16 NOV @ 7:30 PM: OSAMA (2004, 83 mins)

After the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the restriction of women in public life, a young girl is forced to masquerade as a boy named ‘Osama’ in order to find work to support her mother and grandmother. Inspired by a true story, this acclaimed film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004.

• SUN 17 NOV @ **4 PM**: WHAT I SAW ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD (2019, 48 mins)

A rare glimpse at the people who live on the Pamir mountains, the farthest and most remote region of Afghanistan. Though sheltered from war and violence, its residents must fight to survive the extreme conditions and keep their culture alive. Followed by Q&A with director Parwiz Shamal.

• SUN 17 NOV @ **6 PM**: THE ORPHANAGE (2019, 90 mins)

In 1989, a 15-year-old ticket scalper living in Kabul is obsessed with Bollywood musicals but soon finds his life abruptly changed when he is arrested and sent to live in a Soviet state orphanage. This Danish-Afghan musical drama premiered in May at the prestigious Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival.

• MON 18 NOV @ 7:30 PM: A LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT (2017, 83 mins)

When Soraya, a married mother of two and the head of the Kabul Crime Division, is sentenced to death after killing her husband in self-defence, she writes to the President of Afghanistan to plead her case. Written and directed by Roya Sadat, Afghanistan’s first female director since the fall of the Taliban.

• TUE 19 NOV @ 7:30 PM: THE PATIENCE STONE (2012, 102 mins)

In an unspecified war-ridden Middle Eastern country, a woman watches over her husband as he lies in a coma, and speaks frankly to him for the first time about her sacrifices and sorrows of the past decade. He becomes her ‘patience stone’, which, according to Persian mythology, shields its user from hardship.

• WED 20 NOV @ 7:30 PM: JIRGA (2018, 78 mins)

Mike Wheeler, a former Australian soldier, returns to Afghanistan to seek forgiveness from the family of a civilian man he accidentally killed during the war. In doing so he puts his life in the hands of the Jirga – the village justice system. Australia’s official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film in 2019.

• THU 21 NOV @ 7:30 PM: ROCKABUL (2018, 90 mins)

This documentary by Australian journalist Travis Beard reveals a unique side of modern Afghan youth culture through the little-known story of District Unknown, Afghanistan's first heavy metal band, which formed in response to the war and political turmoil around them.