Community Supported Film in Afghanistan

By Nicole McConvery

Boston-based Community Supported Film (CSFilm) would like to present to your congregation an evening of films and discussion about the efforts being made by Afghans to address their challenging social and economic conditions. The films present an unheard and intimate view of Afghans’ daily life and their perspectives on stability and development. Their stories provide a perspective that goes beyond the relentless battlefront coverage that dominates the western media.
Michael Sheridan is a filmmaker and educator who has done some extraordinary work in Afghanistan, helping Afghans to tell their own stories thru film. Last night we had a screening at First Parish in Needham of some of the short films from Afghanistan. The quality and beauty were quite stunning. Reverend John Buehrens, Minister, First Parish in Needham UU
In countries like Afghanistan where the dissemination of objective and accurate information is essential to stabilization and development, CSFilm works to strengthen local documentary storytelling capacity by training local men and women in video journalism and documentary filmmaking, thus empowering them to tell stories rooted in their reality, to better influence local and international views on sustainable paths to a more peaceful and equitable world. In November 2010, CSFilm conducted an intensive five-week training in documentary production in which 10 Afghans participated. After three weeks of rigorous exercises, each student was required to develop and produce a character-driven short documentary. The 10 remarkable films that they produced are grouped under the title The Fruit of our Labor and bring to life Afghans’ efforts to address their challenging social and economic condition, providing a fresh perspective on the needs and issues of Afghans beyond the relentless battlefront coverage of western media. At the conclusion of the course, the trainees and four more-experienced Afghan filmmakers organized as a cooperative to develop proposals of their own for commissioned and independent films with mentoring and assistance from CSFilm, who will provide additional training in topics such as editing, business development and proposal writing. [vimeo 16864562] CSFilm’s Afghan team is currently working on the film Brewing Tea in a Kettle of War (BTKW). BTKW will examine, from the Afghan villager’s perspective, the impact of outsiders coming into their communities in an attempt to help them. International audiences will experience what it is like when foreign soldiers, contractors, and the Afghan government arrive with aid. Through these stories, the benefits of bottom-up versus the costs of top-down development approaches, and the impact of local versus foreign ownership, will be revealed. These parallel stories will allow the international community a unique insight into the sustainability of these different approaches as both external and internal forces struggle for peace in war-weary and self-determined Afghanistan. [vimeo 13589149] The Fruit of our Labor and BTKW will be used in public engagement campaigns in Afghanistan and internationally for audiences hungry for effective peace-building strategies. CSFilm’s work will also include organizing public screenings, forums, publications of educational toolkits and an interactive web site to raise awareness about the role of economic development in conflict resolution.

Host a film screening/discussion at your local congregation by contacting michael @