It was Sunday night, February 24, and I was waiting to watch the Academy Awards or Oscars. I was extremely excited about Buzkashi Boys, a movie nominated in the Short Film (Live Action) category, by Sam French and Afghan Canadian Ariel Naser. This film was produced by Afghan Film Project, a non profit foundation formed to tell unique Afghan stories and working on capacity building of the film industry in Afghanistan.
Buzkashi Boys is a film about two best friends who love Buzakshi, the national sport in Afghanistan, a brutal game of horse polo played with dead goat.
Decades of war and destruction in Afghanistan and news about terrorist attacks and bomb blasting do not let the world know that there are more things to tell about Afghanistan besides these disasters and bad memories.
It is just the power of social media and filmmaking which let the world know that there is a 14-year-old boy, Fawad Mohammadi, who sells maps in the streets of Kabul and never dreamed to be at the Oscars.
Social and digital media, in particular in the film industry, is playing an unimaginable role on introducing a society culture, traditions, thoughts. It is a an open door that shows the other face of a country that is only known as a war zone.
Recently, I read a post about the Herat International Women's Film Festival, founded to host the three days International Film Festival on the occasion of March 8th "International Women's Day" in Herat, Afghanistan by Armanshahr Foundation/OPEN ASIA and ROYA Film House.
Herat International Women's Film Festival is a great achievement for women in the film industry in Afghanistan. It can be a great initiative for female filmmakers not only in Afghanistan but also in other countries in Central and South Asia.
I subscribed to the event and everyday I notice that a lot of women are joining the page, speaking about their experiences in filmmaking and expressing their interest to be a part of this great achievement.
This is all about social media and women empowerment in developing countries and that is why Women's Annex initiative has started its mission in Afghanistan, Central and South Asia to empower women by means of social and digital media by uploading photos, publishing blogs and videos, creating movies, doing sports, educational programs and any other alternatives which can help women improve their situation and support other women in their community.
At Women's Annex, we encourage women in developing countries and other parts of the world to be financially independent self-starters. The platform enables women to self distribute and monetize their film and written content.
This Afghan proverb is for all women in my country and their unforgettable struggles which says: "Doonya ba omeed Zende ast", The world is alive with hope.