The Silent Land


Feature film Project

Throughout history, Afghan women have constantly faced significant barriers in realizing their rights which is mostly considered due to the traditional and religious structure of the society, as well as the lack of technical support within the justice and legal system of Afghanistan. These challenges have often resulted in women being unjustly persecuted, found guilty and convicted to heavy punishments including death. In addition, in Afghanistan, cases of sexual violence and exploitation due to the above reasons frequently remained unreported or were overseen by arbitrary courts, leading to women being found guilty and sentenced to heavy punishments including death.

However, in recent years, international intervention and the presence of humanitarian organizations, along with positive amendments to Afghanistan's constitution and legal system, including enacting laws and conventions protecting human and women's rights, had led to some improvements.

Tragically, with the Taliban's second invasion in 2021, Afghanistan's nascent legal system once again suffered irreparable damages, and crimes and incidents of sexual violence and rape increased, often with the perpetrators being those in power. Today, Afghan women are not only denied basic human’s rights but are also detained for ambiguous reasons or for attempting to assert their rights.

In Taliban prisons, women face physical, verbal, and sexual violence. The oppressive and pervasive atmosphere under Taliban rule prevents these crimes from being reported. According to a report by the US Department of State, among the 90 women imprisoned in Jawzjan, Faryab, and Samangan, 16 reportedly became pregnant due to repeated rape and were forced to undergo abortions in local hospitals. The Taliban reportedly ordered these abortions to be carried out during the third and fifth months of pregnancy. At least four female inmates in Samangan fell seriously ill due to repeated sexual assaults by Taliban members and were ultimately executed by the Taliban.

What is this film about?

Our indie feature film "The Silent Land" follows Shirin, a symbol of resilience under the Taliban's rule. On August 15, 2021, the Taliban captured Kabul. Shirin's husband, a diplomat, fled the night before, but their house was among the first targeted by the Taliban and Shirin was arrested. The Taliban declared she couldn't leave until they found her husband. Over a year, she endured immense suffering, including imprisonment and sexual assault, resulting in pregnancy. Despite this, Shirin did not give up. The film portrays her harrowing experiences and escape, highlighting the world's silence on the oppression of Afghan women under the Taliban. Shirin's story reflects the strength of many women who couldn't escape the 2021 invasion.

Link to article 

Why this film?

Given the dire situation in which Afghan women are entrapped—forced into silence and suffering—it is important to stand by them, amplify their voices, and ensure their stories are heard. Under the gender apartheid imposed by the Taliban’s regime, creating this film is our duty and the least we can do to support Afghan women.

Who are we?

We are mostly the Afghan artists evacuated by the French government in August 2021, and Afghan filmmakers in exile with collaboration of young French filmmakers. The writer and director of the film is Zuhair Mousavi and you can read about the team and the director in the link below: 

The Team 

Why should we be the tellers of our own stories?

Currently, many European and American filmmakers are producing films and series depicting the events surrounding the fall of Kabul on August 15, 2021. However, there are inherent gaps in their narratives as they have not experienced our reality firsthand. This is our story, and we are uniquely positioned to shed light on all aspects of what we have endured.

How will this movie be produced with this small budget?

The full amount of the film budget is not what we are crowdfunding for; we have already contributed 30,000 Euros ourselves; however, we are still in need of an additional 30,000 Euros to bring this project to life. The Afghan crew and cast will volunteer their time; however, they will receive a daily per diem, as well as coverage for their transportation, meals, and accommodation, since many of them will be traveling from other cities in France and neighboring countries. Considering the style of the film, we will have fewer shooting days, which translates to lower costs. The film will consist of 12 sequence-plans, with each sequence representing one month of the story.

How will we use the budget? 

Our aim for requesting fund:

Your support will directly contribute to these essential aspects of the film, enabling us to share this powerful story with the world.

The production team has already invested approximately 30,000 Euros in the film project. However, to bring this project to life, we still need an additional 30,000 Euros, which will exclusively be allocated to the direct costs of the project including equipment, costume and decor, logistics, post-production and distribution.  

The deadline for collecting the donations?

The shooting of the film is scheduled for August-September 2024, spanning 12-14 days. We aim to collect all the funds by the end of August 2024 to have enough time to finalize the planning. 

Please contact us if more details about the budgeting and other parts of the project are required. 

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