A Thousand Girls Like Me
A Thousand Girls Like Me Image Credit: IMDb

The political situation in Afghanistan will remain a topic of discussion at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, which will run from September 1 to 11 at the Lido.

The film festival has invited Afghan filmmakers Sahraa Karimi and Sahra Mani to talk about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan with “particular attention to the situation of filmmakers and artists” since the hardline group seized control of the country.

The 78th edition of the movie gala, also called La Biennale di Venezia, will be held on the with the event’s official website announcing the panel will take place September 4.

The official panel will focus on “the need to create humanitarian corridors and guarantee that [Afghan] filmmakers and other artists will be granted the status of political refugees, allowing [them] to leave the country in addition to concerns about their future and the need to help them get settled once they reach Europe,” the festival said in a statement, according to Vareity.

Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, hundreds have fled the country, many of whom said they had been threatened by the group.

Karimi, who is the first female president of the Afghan Film Organization, wrote an open letter requesting the film community of the world to be the voice of the people as she escaped from Kabul following the return of the Taliban. She said the takeover signalled a potential death knell for the country’s fledgling but vibrant film community. Her feature ‘Hava, Maryam, Ayesha’ screened in Venice’s Horizons (Orizzonti) sidebar in 2019.

Mani, a documentary maker whose credits include ‘A Thousand Girls Like Me’, will also participate in the panel. She will also present a project at the ‘CoProduction Market of the Exhibition’.

The panel will be moderated by Italian journalist Giuliano Battiston, who, since 2007, has dedicated himself to Afghanistan with travel, research and essays.

The initiative will also feature the members of the board of the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR), Vanja Kaludjercic (Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Rotterdam), Orwa Nyrabia (Artistic Director of the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam), Mike Downey (President of the European Film Academy) and Matthijs Wouter Knol (Executive Director of the European Film Academy).

The Taliban swept across Afghanistan earlier this month, taking over almost all key towns and cities following the withdrawal of the US forces from the country after two decades.

The scenario in Afghanistan has become even grimmer following last week’s suicide bombing at Kabul airport where people were being evacuated by coalition troops. The attack was claimed by Daesh’s Afghan affiliate and left at least 100 Afghans and 13 US service members dead.

August 31 is the deadline set by both the US and the Taliban for America’s pullout from the war-torn country.