Facing the Dragon

Sedika Mojadidi

Afghanistan, United States 2018, 80 min.

Documentary

Spoken language: Dari, English, German

Subtitles: English

Dutch premiere

Two women refuse to be silenced and underestimated in male-dominated Afghanistan. Nilofar Ibrahimi, one of the few female members of parliament, and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail have to survive in a country where ‘patriarchy is over the top’. Both do so with incredible strength and independence, but their choices take large personal tolls.

Synopsis

‘We have a responsibility to speak on behalf of every woman,’ says Nilofar Ibrahimi, a successful doctor who became a member of the Afghan parliament. In Facing the dragon by Afghan-American filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi, we see two incredibly strong women taking that responsibility – and paying the price for it.

We follow Nilofar Ibrahimi and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail doing their work in a country where religious fundamentalists have a very strong foothold. Nilofar Ibrahimi takes them on in parliament, trying to ratify a law criminalizing violence against women. But her outspokenness has made her a target of the Taliban, and she is forced to move her children to live with their father in Australia. Nilofar is heartbroken, but refuses to leave her country behind. Shakila is a field reporter for a national television station, critical of both the Afghan government and Taliban forces. After a Taliban suicide bombing in which she was mentioned as a target, she flees Afghanistan with her three children. With smugglers they begin a journey from Istanbul through Europe. Will she ever be able to work as a journalist again?

Facing the Dragon has been selected for the Activist competition and will be screened at Movies that Matter Festival 2019 (22-30 March, The Hague).

Official website: http://www.facingthedragonfilm.com

Credits

Productions:

Mojo Mama Films LLC

Talkshows & debates

Facing the Dragon: Q&A with activist Shakila Ibrahimkhail

Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 11:30

Journalist Bahram Sadeghi speaks to activist and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail after the screening about freedom of press and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Facing the Dragon: Q&A with activist Shakila Ibrahimkhail

Sunday, March 24, 2019 - 21:00

Naeeda Aurangzeb talks with activist and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail about press freedom and women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Facing the Dragon: Q&A with activist Shakila Ibrahimkhail

Monday, March 25, 2019 - 18:30

Mehri Zamanbin speaks with activist and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail about women’s rights and female journalists in Afghanistan and the developments around this in recent years.

Facing the Dragon: Introduction by Arabist and lawyer Laila Al-Zwaini

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:30

Laila Al-Zwaini (Arabist and lawyer) will give a brief introduction before the screening

Facing the Dragon: Q&A with activist Shakila Ibrahimkhail

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 16:30

Laila Al-Zwaini talks with activist and journalist Shakila Ibrahimkhail about women’s rights and female journalists in Afghanistan.