The Afghan-made documentary that was awarded at Switzerland’s largest short film festival.
Stylistically, the documentary reminded me of 12 Angry Men in that the narrative thrust is carried not by scene changes but by what can result from a lack of them: a laser-like focus into a situation and the jagged edges of multiple minds trying to resolve something together. In this case, Death to the Camera shows Afghan women on a work site questioning where international aid goes, the effectiveness of their government, and even the usefulness of making such films. It’s raw, but ripe with thought and engagement.
The story behind the story is equally intriguing not only for what it created here but for its potential to completely revolutionize and localize filmmaking. Director and cinematographer Sayed Qasem Hosseini was one of ten Afghans trained in an intensive 5-week documentary filmmaking training course by Community Supported Film in Kabul, Afghanistan in the fall of 2010. The training resulted in the collection The Fruit of Our Labor – Afghan Perspectives in Film, in which Death to the Camera was the final of ten films. Many other projects are underway and all have as their purpose the training of storytellers from poor and developing communities in non-fiction filmmaking. CSFilm then assists these storytellers with career development so that they can become filmmakers and video-journalists.
This film was granted in full to The Good Men Project for a time period. We can now only offer the trailer. You can watch the film in full by purchasing the DVD or by organizing a screening in their community.
About Michael Sheridan, Founder & Director of CSFilm
CSFilm’s founding director, Michael Sheridan, has twenty years experience in filmmaking, education and producing stories on sustainable development in Africa, Asia and the Americas. He has produced, shot and edited stories for PBS, ABC, TLC, Discovery Networks and National Geographic. His story on gender and microenterprise in Bangladesh was the center of a PBS special, Beyond Beijing, Women and Economic Justice. Michael co-founded Oxfam America’s documentary production unit and has sought to break new ground in the effective use of media to educate and change policy. Michael has taught documentary filmmaking for 15 years in Boston, and from 2007-08 he served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia teaching television production, journalism and media studies at two prominent universities.