Venice Festival Invites Afghan Directors To Talk About Taliban Takeover

Afghan directors Sahraa Karimi and Sahra Mani will take part in a discussion on Sept. 4 on the conditions for filmmakers and Afghan artists since the Taliban seized control of the country.

The Venice Film Festival unveiled details on Saturday of a panel discussion involving Afghan filmmakers covering the situation for artists in their country since the Taliban seized control.

Sahraa Karimi, head of national cinema body Afghan Film, whose feature Hava Maryam, Ayesha, screened in Venice’s Horizons sidebar in 2019, and documentary director Sahra Mani (A Thousand Girls Like Me), will take part in a panel at 3 p.m. local time at the Palazzo del Casino in Venice on Sept.4.

Giuliano Battiston, an Italian journalist who has reported on Afghanistan extensively since 2007, will moderate the panel, which will also feature members of the board of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR), the artistic directors of the Rotterdam and Amsterdam film festival and Mattijs Wounter Knowl, the executive director of the European Film Academy.

Venice said the panel would focus on the current crisis in Afghanistan and what the Taliban’s conquest of the country means for the Afghan population, in particular for Afghan artists and filmmakers.

The discussion will explore the need to create ‘humanitarian corridors’ to get artists out of the country and call on European governments to provide Afghan escapees with a guarantee of political asylum.

Venice said it is planning a series of discussions on issues concerning Afghan artists during this year’s festival, which runs Sept. 1 to 11.