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Here’s Why This Documentary Will be Distributed for Free to the People of Afghanistan

Here's Why This Documentary Will be Distributed for Free to the People of Afghanistan

READ MORE: Here’s Why This Filmmaker Risked His Life to Film at This Ancient Buddhist City

Kartemquin Films will make director Brent E. Huffman’s documentary, “Saving Mes Aynak,” available for free to the people of Afghanistan, the Chicago-based not-for-profit documentary collective announced.
The filmmakers are offering the free stream, hosted by the digital platform VHX, to anyone within Afghanistan who registers at www.savingmesaynak.com before midnight on July 1, which they have declared Global #SaveMesAynak Day. 

Releasing a documentary for free in the country where it was filmed is not without precedent. In 2013, Drafthouse Films made Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” available for free to the people of Indonesia.

READ MORE: How Steve James Finds Silver Linings When Things Don’t Go As Planned (And They Never Do)

Kartemquin is currently offering streams, downloads, DVD/Blu-Rays and public screenings of “Saving Mes Aynak” through their campaign on Indiegogo. An initial 10% of the $50,000 campaign goal of raised funds will also go directly to funding archeologists preserving the site. Should the filmmakers exceed their goal before midnight PDT on June 26, they will double that direct donation to 20%.
The film follows archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save the 5,000-year-old Buddhist archeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition. It’s endangered not only by religious fundamentalists, but also by a Chinese mining company chasing corporate profits.

In traveling to the region on his own many times, “Saving Mes Aynak” director Brent E. Huffman risked his life at the hands of land mines and Taliban fighters. 

“I want to go back and present the film personally in Afghanistan, but even if that is not possible we want the film to be seen there above all else. This is our gift to the people of Afghanistan, but also a challenge to those with the power to reverse this decision and save Mes Aynak,” said Huffman in a statement.

READ MORE: The Best Documentary Filmmaking Advice from Full Frame Documentary Festival

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