Helmer Sonia Nassery Cole’s “The Black Tulip” is Afghanistan’s entry for a nomination in Oscar’s foreign language category.
Based on a true story, the film follows the a family in Kabul who open a restaurant after the ousting of the Taliban in 2001. The restaurant’s open mike policy that invites all to read poetry and tell their stories attracts the ire of lingering factions of the Taliban.
Cole was born in Afghanistan but fled to the U.S. following the 1979 Soviet invasion. She runs L.A.-based charity Afghanistan World Foundation for development in the country. “The Black Tulip,” which is in the Dari, Pashto and English languages, is her first feature.
Cole said: “I was told that “The Black Tulip” would be impossible to make. Despite the war, the bombings, the shootings, the death threats and the kidnappings, we risked our lives and found a way to make this film.”
Submissions for the foreign language Oscar must reach the Academy by 5 p.m. on Friday. Nominations will be announced on Jan. 25. The 83rd Academy Awards will be held at the Kodak Theater on Feb. 27.