Sunday, December 28, 2008

“Safed Sang” a new Afghan feature film in production

In the year 1377 A.H (1998) the Iranian military forces massacred more than six hundred and sixty Afghan illegal entrants in "Safed Sang Camp" (The White Stone Camp) where they were detained for deportation. These Afghan prisoners were detained there just for being Afghan and for entering in Iran illegally. Those days they protested against the responsible personnel of the detaining center for the very bad situation of the detaining center. The Iranian government hearing about this then sent military helicopters and volleyed them all except who could flee or hide somewhere and soon an asphalted road was built on their ensemble cemetery.
On that time some of the prisoners hid to survive and some could escape; out of them, "Dawood Azimi" is one, who is now playing a leading role in Safed Sang a new Afghan film that is in production in the north of Kabul.

"Dawood Wahab" is the producer for Safed Sang, "Zubair Farghand" is the director and "Homayoon Payez" is the main character. The production team has built a simulation of Safed Sang camp in the north of Kabul and all parts of the film is being filmed there. The 300,000 $ USD budget of the film is funded by an American organization. It is interesting that the main location of this film is very close to Bagram Airport, where the American military forces detain the Afghan prisoners who are suspect of affiliated to terrorists, in their military base.

The production team has made a lot of efforts to assimilate the same scenes as occurred in this tragic incident in 1998 about which many people do not know; an incident that is described to be very Hollywoody by the correspondent of Independent as he writes in the Volume of Nov 20th “A big story that could be changed into a great film”. The producer of the film has said to Independent; “We have assimilated the whole parts of this camp (Safed Sang Camp); the kinds of barbwire they used, the cement walls and all other details it had, we even covered the floors with artificial human excrements as the same situation this camp has had.”

In spite of allocation of a lot of budget on decoration and set designing, 35 mm cinematic equipments and enough lighting facilities and cranes, can we still expect an acceptable film by Zubair Farghand?
Zubair Farghand, although is an old figure in the Afghan Cinema but his achievements are not enough and comparable to the years he was present in the cinema, as so far has made some cheap action films but is he ready to direct a feature film is not for sure yet.
However, this film in addition to depicting the story of massacre of the Afghan refugees in Iran will tell another story as well. The story that may not be seen in the film, but we can feel instead, when we watch the film; the never told story of grieves of the Afghans who have lived in Iran.

This film on the other hand would undoubtedly be the first grand step for relating the stories of immigration and refuge. And what happens on the Afghan refugees in the Iranian illegal entrants camps is a part of a big tragedy which has millions of people as victims.
The racist government of Iran, promoting anti immigrant propagandas among the Iranian people, has benighted the lives of the Afghan refugees in this country. This film of course can not be a complete image of the thirty year immigration of the Afghans to Iran but at least could be a beginning of story telling of this issue; an issue that is a part of the contemporary history of the Afghans.

And the other side of the coin; although about four million Afghans live in Iran, and they make a part of the Iranian society in reality, but it rarely happened that an Iranian filmmaker would make a film about their hard lives in this country.
The most famous film about the Afghans in Iran is the praised and well - accredited film “Baran” by Majid Majedi which was an effort to portray a real part of lives of the Afghans in Iran but this film and only some others can not be effective against the rapid anti immigrants and anti Afghans propagandas of the Iranian media and press that is strictly controlled and directed by the government.

Most of the actors and extras in Safed Sang are the Afghan returnees who have been in Iran and can speak Persian with Iranian accent. "Dawood Azimi", who plays the role of an Iranian Police Officer, has said to Independent; “I have a good feeling that I am wearing an Iranian police uniform in this film, because with this I have the chance to show to the world how we have lived and how they oppressed on us, therefore I can play this role.”
In Safed Sang camp, Although the six hour massacre can be imagined as real Hollywood- like scene but in the film there are no victorious heroes as it finishes with a sad ending; Homayoon Payez the protagonist of the film dies at the end and there is no victor hero in Safed Sang, every one else is a victim, but the victor hero is in the Iranian military helicopter in the sky over the Safed Sang camp.
Reported by Ali Karimi in Doshanbeha
Read more about Afghan Cinema below:

1 comment:

  1. Is The camp the one in Azarbaiejohn? Why an American company funding a movie against iran? Why if Iran is such a bad place everyday one sees long lines on the visa lines in front of iranian embassy in kaboul? Why A known CIA agent has become the producer of this movie?


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