Photo Credit: Sahraa Karimi Twitter handle - [cropped, resized]

Afghan filmmaker Sahraa Karimi will speak about the problems her country’s filmmakers face under the new Taliban at the Venice International Film Festival, the organisers announced.

Karimi is one of the few filmmakers who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul and wrote an open letter to international film communities, seeking help for other filmmakers.

The 78th edition of the festival will be held in an in-person event, from September 1 to September 10.

The panel discussion that is scheduled to be held on September 4, at the Palazzo del Casinò, will underline “the crisis now underway in Afghanistan with special attention to the situation of filmmakers and Afghan artists in general, in the tragic context in which the entire population of that country now finds itself,” according to the festival’s statement.

Karimi, the first woman president of the Afghan Film Organization, will be joined by Afghan documentary filmmaker Sahra Mani, Vanja Kaludjercic (Artistic Director of the Rotterdam International Film Festival), Orwa Nyrabia (Artistic Director of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), Mike Downey (President of the European Film Academy), Matthijs Wouter Knol (Executive Director of the European Film Academy), along with moderator and journalist Giuliano Battiston, who has worked, travelled and researched in Afghanistan for over a decade.

The discussion will revolve around the need to create humanitarian corridors and a guarantee that the filmmakers will be granted the status of political refugees, in addition to concern about their future and the need to help them get settled once they reach Europe.

Karimi herself relocated to Kiev, Ukraine a few days back, with the help of the Ukranian government. Another filmmaker, Shahrbanoo Sadat relocated to Abu Dhabi with help from the French governement, and was awaiting a flight to Europe along with her family, according to the last update from her representatives.

Speaking at the Kiev Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen, her first public appearance after leaving Afghanistan, Karimi said, “In Afghanistan, no one can think about Covid-19 because they [Taliban] don’t let us think about it. They just want to kill us. Because we want to be free, and ensure equality for women, children, and artists  around the world.” She requested the attendees and the Ukranian government to not recognise Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan.

As of now, only Pakistan and China have formally recognised the Taliban’s regime.

Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban after capital city Kabul fell on August 14 and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.