November 19, 2014 3:43 pm
Kartemquin's 6th world premiere of 2014 will be this Sunday, as Saving Mes Aynak screens at IDFA.
Tickets are now on sale for the film's five screenings at the world's largest documentary festival, with director Brent Huffman, producer Zak Piper, and executive producers Gordon Quinn and Julia Reichert attending.
Ahead of the world premiere, we gave PBS NewsHour a sneak peek of footage from the finished film and a new interview with Brent Huffman about the Mes Aynak site.
Saving Mes Aynak follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he races against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition. A Chinese state-owned mining company is closing in on the ancient site, eager to harvest $100 billion dollars worth of copper buried directly beneath the archaeological ruins. Only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated, though, and some believe future discoveries at the site have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself. Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archaeologists face what seems an impossible battle against the Chinese, the Taliban and local politics to save their cultural heritage from likely erasure.
In addition to the IDFA screenings, we've organized a free discussion in Amsterdam on Tuesday, November 25 at 8:30pm: Mes Aynak: a choice between economy and history. Hosted by the Keihan Foundation, the event will see Brent E. Huffman joined by Paula de Wijs of the Buddhist Center Amsterdam; Mr. Stephen Carter of Global Witness (via Skype); Prof. Paul van der Velde, an expert in Gandhara Buddhist art and in Buddhist & Hindu cultures; and Matin Wasei, the co-organiser of an online petition and an activist for the preservation of the heritage at Mes Aynak. They will provide an in-depth analysis of the challenges faced at Mes Aynak, and what can be done to help.
The 60 minute film will compete in the IDFA Competition for Mid-Length Documentary.
You can become part of the journey of this film and help save Mes Aynak. Please sign the official petition and consider donating to the film. We plan to resubmit the petition with all the new signatures to the new president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.