When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, taking a photo was a crime. After the regime fell from power in 2001, a fledgling free press emerged and a photography revolution was born. Now, as foreign troops and media withdraw, Afghanistan is left to stand on its own, and so are its journalists. Set in a modern Afghanistan bursting with color and character, FRAME BY FRAME follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape — reframing Afghanistan for the world, and for themselves. Through cinema vérité, intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism and never-before-seen archival footage shot in secret during the Taliban regime, the film connects audiences with four humans in the pursuit of the truth.
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Frame by Frame
Frame by Frame
Afghanistan is a complex and beautiful country, enriched by the nuanced lives of its people. Yet it has a reputation as a perpetually war torn region, wrought with suicide bombs, political corruption, and Islamic fundamentalism. In 2012, we traveled to Afghanistan in search of a story about perception — how and why do we form our perceptions of a country at war? And how does this intersect what is actually happening on the ground?
In Kabul, we met four incredible local photojournalists. They are deeply embedded in the past, present, and future of their country, and their own truths inform their will to take ownership of Afghanistan’s story and reveal a humanness that is rarely captured by foreign media. We knew that their stories could bridge what often feels like an insurmountable divide between Afghans and Western audiences. The world is hankering for a more in-depth and honest view of life in today’s Afghanistan and the issues Afghans face as they stand on their own to rebuild the country.
We also knew that this story couldn’t be more timely. Right now, the future of Afghanistan is mired in uncertainty. The government has just transitioned power to a new president. U.S. security forces are pulling out, foreign media is shuttering bureaus, and aid — which helped jumpstart Afghanistan’s free press movement — is dwindling. After more than 13 years of historical growth, free press stands as one of Afghanistan’s most viable hopes for political and social stability. Now is the time to shed light on the realities of building free press in a country whose future may depend on it.