A timely new documentary chronicles a British solder’s return to Afghanistan, just as U.S. troops pulled out of the country amid a Taliban takeover.
WestEnd Films, in collaboration with Israeli outfit Cinephil, is this week launching worldwide sales on “Afghanistan” at the virtual American Film Market — a project that marks one of the first feature documentary efforts to emerge from the country’s recent political turmoil.
The pic is directed by James Glancy, a former British Royal Marine commando who was decorated for his actions in combat. In the film, he returns to Afghanistan to answer the question that has haunted him for 10 years: Was it worth it?
However, in a turn of events mid-way through filming, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that American troops will pull out by 9/11, triggering a Taliban offensive that led to the dramatic collapse of the Afghanistan government and an ensuing coup by the Taliban.
“I returned to Afghanistan in 2021 to live with and film the Afghan people, whose views are often overlooked. However, events took a dramatic turn within weeks of our arrival,” said Glancy of the project.
“The U.S. announced their complete withdrawal and we found ourselves in a war-torn country that was collapsing around us. The Taliban took complete control, and our own mission changed from filming to helping Afghan friends evacuate from certain death. The Taliban symbolically announced their new government on Sept. 11, 2021, exactly twenty years after the attack on the World Trade Centre, and we are now some of the last people to document life in the old Afghanistan and the events that lead to the return of the Taliban.”
The film is made in partnership with Khyber Khan, an Afghan filmmaker and world renowned drone pilot who serves as the camera and drone operator.
“Afghanistan” is co-directed by Glancy and 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. Cinzia Baldessari (“A Flickering Truth,” “McQueen”) has joined the team as editor. The film is supported by Northern Ireland Screen.
The project is the latest AFM title launched by WestEnd Films, which is also bringing Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Edgar Ramirez starrer “Nobody’s Heart” and Neil LaBute’s “Out of the Blue” to market.