Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hello everybody – and thank you to all of you who recently gave me your email addresses at screenings.

We have had wonderful press in the newspapers and on TV but it remains an awful struggle to (1) get cinemas to show it and (2) get audiences in to watch it. So to all of you who came..Thank You! I tried to attend as many of those screenings as I could though I wish the cinemas would at least contribute to my fuel costs!
One cinema said I could have a free biscuit with my coffee but not a free cake (and I’d just travelled three hours to get there!). Anyway, more importantly, the audience reactions to the film have been as strong as I’ve ever had for any of my films. The Q&As have always been good and I have met so many interesting folk who have expressed a real compassion for Mir and his family. As you’ll have gathered, the film was finished about 12 months ago so what has happened to Mir since then? Well, I had hoped to return in person this June to show him the film to them in person but, sadly, my Afghan colleague Shoaib thought it was simply too dangerous. I also thought the money it would cost me to get there would be better spent by being given to Mir directly.
Anyway, Shoaib did go and meet them in a city in the north (the first tarmac that Mir had ever seen) where, after some difficulty, he managed to get Mir, Abdul and Khoshdel identity cards and then bank accounts. We have now transferred some money which will help them and, in Mir’s case, will help him continue with his schooling. They also saw the film which they really liked. For my part, I committed to spend a year pushing the film (at our own expense) and that year is almost up. I have a handful of UK screenings left- and two trips to Washington DC mid November to show politicians. We had a wonderful premiere screening here at the Royal Geographical Society and it was very well attended with charity folk, authors, diplomats, famous actors, etc but it was also notable that no politician – and we’d invited them all – turned up. I hope Washington is more successful. Perhaps all the attention (and some really nice 5-6 minute pieces) on CNN, BBC World news, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and others will catch someone’s attention. I feel so strongly that if you are making decisions about millions, billions, of dollars being spent in Afghanistan and, more importantly, lives being risked and lost, then you have the responsibility to know who the Afghans are – for that, watch this film. Anyway, we’ll keep on trying.
Do keep an eye on our Facebook site, or my blog. If you would like to help us get the film seen please visit

Thank you again for your interest and I’ll send more news after Christmas.

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