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Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers #20: Eva Orner Dives Into Afghanistan's Media in 'The Network'

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire March 3, 2013 at 7:03PM

Eva Orner makes her directorial debut in "The Network". The Australian filmmaker is based in Los Angeles and spent four years in New York prior to that. She has been producing films for 20 years and won an Academy Award and Emmy in 2008 for producing "Taxi To The Dark Side."
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Eva Orner
Eva Orner

Eva Orner makes her directorial debut in "The Network".  The Australian filmmaker is based in Los Angeles and spent four years in New York prior to that.  She has been producing films for 20 years and won an Academy Award and Emmy in 2008 for producing "Taxi To The Dark Side."

What it's about: "The Network" is set behind the scenes at the largest television network in one of the most dangerous places on earth, Afghanistan."

What it's really about: "What really drew me to this story was that it tells a very different narrative of Afghanistan from the one most of us are familiar with. It is not a story about war and the military but instead a film about the reconstruction of a country and the power of media. It is a story about how a handful of people can completely change a country. And it is the story of a group of brave, young, talented Afghans who just want a chance at life.  When I started working on this film I thought it would be a surprisingly positive story about a place and a war shrouded in negativity. And to some extent it is. However as the withdrawal of foreign troops rapidly approaches and violence and instability grow, the future for those at Tolo TV, and in Afghanistan, looks increasingly uncertain. THE NETWORK is a glimpse into modern Kabul through people working at a television station. It is a time capsule of what was, what is and what could have been."

What she hopes audiences will walk away with:

"The film is about how a few people with a good idea can change a country in a remarkable and positive way. It is about the power of media to effect social change. I hope audiences rethink their view on Afghanistan and war. And understand a little more about the country."
"The Network" Still
"The Network" Still
What's next: "I have just returned from preliminary shooting in Seattle and Beirut. The film is called "Out Of Iraq" and is about gay Iraqi refugees trying to get out of Iraq and to America as refugees. And the people that help them. There are few places worse in the world to be gay than Iraq. The UNHCR is assisting Iraqi gay refugees, but there are many trapped there facing death. The film is a love story. It is uplifting and heartbreaking and the people in the film are the bravest people I have ever met who have suffered more than anyone ever should."

Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on March 8 for the latest profiles.


This article is related to: Meet the 2013 SXSW Filmmakers, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW)