Film festival comes to Kabul on war anniversary

Fri Oct 7, 2011 8:06am EDT
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By Zhou Xin

KABUL (Reuters) - A father desperately searches for his son, who has been sent on a suicide bomb mission. After losing everything, he ends up homeless and insane on the dusty streets of Kabul.

Tragedy can seem all too common in war-torn Afghanistan, but fortunately, this time, the story of Yacoub is not true.

Instead it is the center of a movie, one of 50 screened during the first Autumn Human Rights Film Festival. The event provides a central Asian stage for directors from Afghanistan and abroad who are tackling human rights issues, and a window for the public to explore challenges many have faced themselves.

"This film festival is special compared to other festivals I have attended, because it's about human rights," said Homayun Morowat, the Kabul-born director of the film about Yacoub, An Apple from Paradise.

The festival takes place at the tenth anniversary of the start of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, a time when the human rights achievements and abuses of the last decade are in sharp focus.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday the Afghan government and its international supporters have failed to keep many of the human rights promises they made to the Afghan people.

But media freedoms are still better than in almost all the surrounding countries, according to the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, making the Afghan capital a logical choice to host a central Asian film festival.

Organizers say the festival has been years in the planning and the dates chosen were practical, not political.   Continued...

<p>Afghans watch a movie at the French cultural center during the first Autumn Human Rights Film Festival in Kabul October 6, 2011. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani</p>