Featuristic Films has unveiled an exclusive first look at the feature documentary “Afghanistan.” It follows filmmaker James Glancy, a former British Royal Marine Commando who was decorated in 2012 for his actions in combat, as he returns to Afghanistan with a small, handpicked team to help him answer the question that has haunted him over the past decade: Was it worth it?
Dramatically, mid-way through the shoot, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would be pulling troops out by 9/11, starting a Taliban offensive that has led to the dramatic fall this week of the Afghan government, amidst chaotic evacuation scenes in Kabul as American forces withdraw.
The documentary offers unprecedented access to the story of the Afghan war and what has happened to the Afghan people, Featuristic Films said, told firstly through the personal journey of Glancy, his memories from fighting in Afghanistan, stories from his father, who lived with the Mujahideen in the 1980s, and an insight into the culture, life and beauty of Afghanistan.
The film, shot across six provinces, includes secret night meetings with a member of the Taliban, embedding in combat with the Mujahideen as they rise again to take on the Taliban, Afghan special forces on daytime patrols and night-time raids, hearing the voices of real Afghans, including female mountaineers, the mixed gender Kabul cycling team, the injured men, women and children at a Kandahar hospital where doctors work 24/7 to save them, families displaced in refugee camps, and having shoot outs with and near escapes from the Taliban.
“Afghanistan” is co-directed Marty Stalker (Netflix’s “Hostage to the Devil”), and produced by Julien Loeffler and James Kermack at Featuristic Films (“Laurent Garnier: Off the Record”) in collaboration with Glancy. Post-production has now started in the U.K. The film was financed with private funding and the producers are now starting discussions with distribution partners.
Glancy said: “Afghanistan is now the greatest foreign policy disaster since the Vietnam War – and I’ve had a front row seat over three decades. The reason I wanted to go back to Afghanistan was to find out what the Afghan people felt about the war and to find out what their future could hold.
“But we found ourselves in a country on the verge of collapse. People trying to flee, the Mujahadeen trying to re-establish themselves and the Afghan Army losing districts every day. Since we left Afghanistan, the Taliban have rapidly taken control. It’s a disaster. We are the last people to properly document the lives of the Afghan people from different provinces, and to see the beauty of the country.”
Loeffler said: “The current situation unfolding before our eyes drives us more than ever to get this impactful and essential film completed and released worldwide.”
Kermack added: “What James Glancy and his team have achieved here is nothing short of being historically monumental as they have documented the at-first hopeful rise and eventual devastating fall of freedom in Afghanistan.”
Featuristic Films’ recent titles include “Laurent Garnier: Off the Record,” which had its world premiere at CPH:DOX, followed by selections at Edinburgh and Karlovy Vary; IFTA-nominated “Knuckledust,” starring Moe Dunford, Kate Dickie and Phil Davis, which was acquired by Hulu and Sky Cinema through a multi-territory distribution deal with Samuel Goldwyn Films; “Say Your Prayers,” the sophomore feature of BIFA nominee Harry Michell with Harry Melling, Derek Jacobi and Roger Allam; and “The Sonata” with Freya Tingley, Rutger Hauer and James Faulkner, selected at Frightfest and acquired by Screen Media.
Glancy is a filmmaker and conservationist. He presents and films for National Geographic and the Discovery Channel (“Shark Week”). He previously served in the British Royal Marines and served three tours in Afghanistan, where he was decorated for bravery.
Stalker is a film and television director whose debut feature documentary “Hostage to the Devil,” which was supported by Screen Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen, was released on Netflix worldwide in 2017. He is a former Section Commander in the Royal Marines Commandos, and has worked on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.