When Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli went to Afghanistan they fully intended to bring back the story of storytellers. But what had begun as a short film about the rise of photojournalists who came on the scene with the fall of the Taliban in 2001 has turned into a much more expansive project that aims to illustrate the role of unbiased reporting in the creation of an emerging democracy. As they follow the lives of four photographers in their new movie project now in production called Frame By Frame, these courageous filmmakers hope to inspire a deeper appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice required to speak truth to power while in constant danger of suppression or physical harm.
“It’s a character driven story but there’s a bigger theme of free press in Afghanistan and what that means,” Alexandria told the Joy Trip Project. “Within the last decade to 12 years since the Taliban has been out they’ve been able to have more access to photography because under the Taliban it was banned. When Mo Scarpelli and I went to Afghanistan and met the photographers we saw how amazing their work was. But we also saw how important it was for what happens next when the (U.S.) troops pull out in 2014. We realized it was a much bigger story and we had to come back.”
The presence of a strong press corps helps to keep the government in check as well as informing the public. Afghanistan has a long history of government controlled media and in years past it was used as a tool of propaganda or religious vitriol. This new breed of photojournalists, who take full advantage of the latest technology, is a powerful force to maintain the stability of Afghan society. Alexandria and Mo want to share with audiences in the United States what these photographers go through in order to collect and distribute the images of their nation’s struggle.
“We really lucked out because the people we’re following are of all different types of opinions and they all do different types of photojournalism,” Alexandria said. “We’re following a woman named Farzana Wahidy who’s one of the only female photojournalists in Afghanistan. She has a really touch job, but she also has amazing access to women that no man could take pictures of. So she’s able to tell the story of half the population.”
With four unique stories to explore Alexandria and Mo intend to go back to Afghanistan in the Fall of 2013 for 5 weeks. Their goal is to show aspects of this region that American audiences are not used to seeing.
“With so many stories that have come out about the war and showing Afghans as victims we want to make this a human story,” Alexandria said. “These are empowered people who believe in a lot of different things. And like other films I’ve made in the past I want to concentrate on the human side to connect people with the Afghans.”
Frame By Frame is looking for support to complete this project through a campaign on Kickstarter. The Joy Trip Project is proud to back their efforts.
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