THE POWER OF A PHOTOIn 1996, the Taliban banned photography in Afghanistan. Taking a photo was considered a crime. When the regime was removed from Kabul in 2001, their suppression of free speech and press disappeared. Since then, photography has become an outlet for Afghans determined to show the hidden stories of their country.
In this coming year, as foreign troops pull out of the country, international media will inevitably follow. The Taliban is poised to gain influence, if not fully return to power. The future of journalism in Afghanistan is unknown.
The need for local photojournalism here couldn’t be more important in documenting the country’s issues both now, and in the future.
Frame by Frame is a character-driven feature-length documentary that follows the story of four Afghan photographers to explore the recent revolution in local photojournalism.
These Afghan photojournalists are the storytellers, the truth-seekers, the voice of their own people. They’re seizing a unique opportunity to build democracy here in a way that never existed before: through a free press. Their work is a crucial part of showing what is happening during this very uncertain time.
At the same time, they face major hurdles: threats from Taliban or other extremists, skepticism of their own people, lack of security and financial support, and for Farzana, one of the only female Afghan photographers in Kabul, gender barriers.
Going back to AfghanistanFrame by Frame started production in the fall of 2012: we emptied Alexandria’s bank account, sold her car, and flew to Afghanistan with the hopes of shooting a short film about local photographers. We filmed for a short period of time, then sat down with each photographer to learn about their work and their take on the future of photojournalism in Afghanistan. Each interview captivated us more and more. This was a story that needed to be told — and we needed more time to tell it.
So... why us?
We care about the human stories behind this issue, and we also have access to tell it in an incredible way. Last year, we filmed our photographers capturing heroin addicts, the country’s first boxing match, and patrons of a mosque which normally turns cameras away. Our characters’ access has opened up a very unique opportunity for us to capture subjects and issues which are usually not accessible to outside film crews.
What this Kickstarter will doThis Kickstarter will get us back to Kabul this fall to finish the production side of Frame by Frame. For five weeks, we’ll follow Farzana, Massoud, Wakil and Najibullah in their day-to-day lives. We’ll capture the ups and downs of their work while driving at the larger story: what it’s like to help build and then stand for free press in Afghanistan while the country’s future hangs in the balance.
Filming in Afghanistan is expensive, especially when it comes to being as safe as possible. Our Kickstarter goal of $40,000 will cover airfare, lodging, transportation, food for the production crew, hard drives, evacuation insurance, interview translations, and a team of amazing fixers and drivers that we had last year. We’ve also budgeted in the costs of creating the rewards, shipping them to you and the 10% fee for Kickstarter and Amazon.
Rewards for BackersAs a backer, you'll be with us all the way through the process of making this film. You’ll receive exclusive updates and have the opportunity to meet the photographers behind this incredible revolution.
We want you to know how much you’re contribution means to everyone involved with Frame by Frame, so we’ve included some rewards that will get you the film, but also bring you the story through the photography itself.
We couldn’t be more excited and honored to have the chance to tell this story, and as a backer, you’re a huge part of that. You’ll be the reason their stories are brought to the world. So... what are you waiting for? Join us!
Risks and challengesWell, let’s talk about what you’re all likely thinking: “Two women are going alone to Afghanistan?!”
We are well aware this is a war zone, and there are inherent risks in being in the country at all. We’ve been to Kabul before and have built trusted relationships with our contacts here. Our ‘fixer’ (i.e. a person devoted to getting us local access) has worked with international news crews, nonprofit organizations and other visitors for many years.
All decisions — from where to grab breakfast to how long to spend shooting in a location — are made with security as a priority.
Beyond Kabul, we both have experience filming in adverse conditions around the world. We’re aware that situations can turn ugly on a dime, and we’re as prepared as possible for emergency situations.
Now... on the challenges to the film itself:
One rule in documentary is that nothing ever goes according to plan; these are real stories unfolding out in the real world. Nothing is scripted, and anything can happen. This can turn out to be a really beautiful and amazing thing, but also a really trying, difficult and sometimes dangerous thing. We appreciate your patience and support through our production.
Another challenge at this point is funding for post-production. We set our Kickstarter goal to cover the bare minimum of getting us back to Kabul and finishing production of Frame by Frame. It will NOT cover the post-production costs such as music licensing, sound design, color correction, and distribution.
So -- all funds beyond our goal will help greatly! They'll go toward post-production so we can craft the film in the edit room and get it out to the world.
Thank you for believing in this project and for being a part of telling this very important story.