Director Brent E. Huffman was interviewed on Cultural Property News. The interview was a somber time reminding ourselves of the realities of Mes Aynak. Please read for recent updates on the precious site!
We are delighted to announce that Saving Mes Aynak can now be viewed on Ovid. OVID.tv will provide North American viewers with access to thousands of documentaries, independent films, and notable works of international cinema, largely unavailable on any other platform. Thank you to all our viewers!
Professor and Director of "Saving Mes Aynak" Brent E. Huffman is named the President of the Jury of this year's Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival, on Oct. 12-14th! "Saving Mes Aynak" previously has been awarded Grand Prize at the Festival in 2016. We are excited to be back at South Carolina for this joyous festival!
The Afghan government seems to be gearing up to start mining at Mes Aynak. Tolo News recently reported about an agreement made between the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum and Ministry of Information and Culture (where Qadir, the protagonist of "Saving Mes Aynak," served as head Archaeologist) to remove all Mes Aynak relics before the copper deposits are mined.
But as our film detailed, rescue archaeology does more damage than good; a majority of the relics resting in Mes Aynak are too fragile to be safely excavated. The ancient Buddhist city needs to be SAVED and preserved, not REMOVED for copper mining that will permanently pollute the area and water supplies.
We believe Mes Aynak should be preserved as a World Heritage Site and Afghan's prized tourist destination than as a toxic open-pit copper mine that will only benefit the mining company.
Today with grave heart, we write the news that Afghan archaeologist Abdul Wahab Ferozi was killed by the Taliban in a bomb blast while traveling to work at the ancient Buddhist city of Mes Aynak in Afghanistan. Three others were also wounded in the explosion.
The dangerous and arduous commute to Mes Aynak had been depicted in our film, ridden with landmines and volatile relationship with the Taliban.
These heroic archaeologists have been risking their lives daily to save their countries priceless world heritage. Please show these amazing individuals your support here. The archaeologists do this work for little pay and with limited support from the Afghan government and the world community. They deserve our thanks, love, and support.
Saving Mes Aynak goes to University of Oxford for a special screening by the University's Classical Art Research Centre. Director Brent E. Huffman will attend in person.
The screening is part of Gandhara Connections project, a probe into artistic production in the Gandharan region. We are honored for this chance to show the film to those who appreciate art and culture for the Silk Road!
Event Details :
Thursday 8th March 2018, 5-7pm, followed by a reception.
Ioannou Centre, 66 St Giles', Oxford OX1 3LU.
All are welcome, but please email to book a free place at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Trump administration made a startling announcement last week that it would withdraw from UNESCO, for concerns regarding the group’s “anti-Israel bias” and its amounting arrears.
It was announced, according to the New York Times, that the U.S. government will only continue to provide "American perspective and expertise to UNESCO" "as a nonmember observer." The withdrawal goes into effect at the end of 2018.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director general, however, argued that UNESCO is “so relevant to the political agenda of the American government it’s incredible.” According to her statement, reported in the New York Times, UNESCO’s largest literacy program is in Afghanistan, training teachers and preserving cultural heritage in the liberated areas of Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq.
Despite the discouraging political decision by the Trump administration, UNESCO seems yet to be firm in its plans to help preserve and document artifacts across Mes Aynak over a three-year period. UNESCO is providing its expertise to support archaeological efforts of Afghan's Ministry of Information and Culture - but this does not stop any of the demolition plans of Mes Aynak.
We feel that it's in times like this that all the international supporters of Mes Aynak should stand together to keep raising awareness to the issues on site.
Three years into the release of "Saving Mes Aynak" at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, we have seen incredible changes around the world.
More artifacts from Mes Aynak have been moved and unveiled at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul than ever, as "Saving Mes Aynak" continued to screen around the world. However, Trump administration has shown possible interest in claiming its stakes in the mineral reserve of Afghanistan.
Please read on for more updates and stories from Mes Aynak.
Despite the ongoing instability, Mes Aynak archaeologists on site have continued to find a way to work at the archaeological site.
A 2012 excavation from Mes Aynak has been spectacularly restored by a team of French, Italian, and Afghan workers, and now unveiled at the Kabul National Museum (pictured above).
Furthermore, the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC), where Qadir is leading as the Head of the Archaeology Department, recorded 5,260 ancient sites through various Afghan provinces - a major development since the "Saving Mes Aynak"'s awareness campaign. Qadir's team, along with international crew of experts, is mapping all archaeological sites pipelining the nation.
"Saving Mes Aynak" traveled to some new places this summer. Starting with Stockholm, Sweden for Afghan Documentary Film Festival, the film was invited to The Art-Law Center of University of Geneva, for a screening with Professor Marc-André Renold, an attorney-at-law in the area of cultural heritage law as well as the director of the Art-Law Center.
In the U.S., "Saving Mes Aynak" returned to UChicago in continuation of many meaningful screenings and collaborations, for a screening with Professor Larry Rothfield's "Cultural Heritage and Cultural Diplomacy" class. Professor Rothfield, also the co-founder of UChicago's Cultural Policy Center, previously led a panel talk for the film's Chicago screening. Director Brent E. Huffman later spoke at the UChicago's Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society for the panel on "Antiquities as Global Contraband: What Do We Know, and What Can We Do? - Lessons from Afghanistan."
"Saving Mes Aynak" continued to screen across the U.S. at Verde Valley Archaeology Center for the International Archaeology Film Festival in Arizona, with the Buddhist Sitting Group in Georgia, with Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago, and finally, for the 4th time in Florida for a screening with the Tallahassee Film Society. Director Brent E. Huffman attended a campus-wide screening at UC Berkeley; the film returned to California for a screening at Fowler Museum of UCLA. "Saving Mes Aynak" also traveled East Coast for a screening with American Institute of Afghan Studies at Boston University.
"Saving Mes Aynak" also screened to the townspeople of Stockach, a small German town not far from the Swiss border. This screening was a long-time labor of love by a volunteer who also helped translate the film into German. A host to various refugees from the Middle East, the Stockach community came together for a special "Saving Mes Aynak" screening, with two Afghan settlers who spoke about their experiences.
Another volunteer who translated the film into Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Croatian, connected the film with University of Skopje students, who organized a screening at the Museum of Macedonia. The Association of Archaeology Students of Skopje (Axios) put the local screening and press materials together for the film's first-ever showing in Macedonia.
"Saving Mes Aynak" also had the rare chance to screen in India twice this year. For World Environmental Film Festival in Hyderabad, India, "Saving Mes Aynak" screened to high school and college students throughout the city. "Saving Mes Aynak" also screened at the Buddha International Film Festival, where it won the Best Direction Award!
"Saving Mes Aynak" also returns to a few festivals and locations, starting with Italy for the International Archaeological Film Festival of Rassegna.
Saving Mes Ayank also will screen again at Beirut Art Film Festival as part of a university screening series, and on Histoire, a French history TV channel.
We are extremely honored to see the film engaging audiences around the world!
Interested in hosting a screening of Saving Mes Aynak? Contact us.
Saving Mes Aynak now has Chinese subtitles! Volunteers have continued to generously offer their time and efforts to making the film more widely available to all. Soon the film will be available in Vietnamese as well!
Interested in translating the film into a new language? Please visit here.
Recognitions for Saving Mes Aynak
Saving Mes Aynak has been named CINE Golden Eagle Finalist in the category of Nonfiction Content: Feature – Current Affairs or Investigations. Other honorees included POV's Hooligan Sparrow and The Return, Al Jazeera Media Network's The Poacher's Pipeline, and EPIX's original documentary series America Divided. We are grateful for this honor and congratulations to all finalists!
Saving Mes Aynak also took home Best Direction Award from the Buddha International Film Festival, held at the National Film Archive of India.
We are grateful for all the opportunities to show the film around the world and for audience's generous recognition.
Spread the word - "Saving Mes Aynak" is available on Netflix! If looking to see the film outside the U.S., watch it on VHX.
Additionally, Blueshift Education developed a printable brochure for community screenings, a Screening Guide for educators and cultural institutions. All these tools are available for free for everyone to raise awareness and call to action.
Recent Mes Aynak News
The second half of 2017 has brought a whirlwind surrounding Mes Aynak.
The former general manager of the state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp (MCC) has been expelled from the Community Party for corruption. It's a political death sentence for an official who had much say in sealing the mining deal between the Chinese and Afghan government in 2007, and a possible shake in MCC's further plans to start the demolition process of Mes Aynak in 2017.
However, Trump administration seems to be interested in claiming a stake in Afghanistan's natural resources.
Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire financier who owns the military contractor DynCorp International, is informally advising Trump on Afghanistan, according to a report in The New York Times, which said the company may potentially play a role in safeguarding American mining operations. "We have no expectation of supporting commercial mining programs, but continue to work at the direction of the U.S. government," a DynCorp representative told CNBC. According to the CNBC report, Trump administration is hoping to recoup the $700 billion spent on Afghan war with the struggling nation's mineral wealth.
However, "American investment could potentially be worse," told Director Brent E. Huffman CNBS; as evidenced by the interviews and research shown in "Saving MesAynak," the sale of the mining rights would "solely benefit a very small number of corrupt officials."The future of Mes Aynak, Afghanistan's largest treasure trove of historical and cultural knowledge, remains uncertain.
Despite the constant instability, the incredible perseverance of Mes Aynak archaeologists and supporters continues to amaze us as we, the "Saving Mes Aynak" team, continue our work to raise awareness around the world.
Together we MUST SAVE MES AYNAK in 2017!
"Saving Mes Aynak has been invited to screen at the Film & Cultural Society of North East, an NGO based in Guwahati India, the fastest growing port city of India.
The screening will be an opportunity to tell the story of Mes Aynak to about 60 students from 10 schools from the region - students who would be heritage and cultural leaders in their respective institutions. A local expert from Archaeological Survey of India will join the post screening discussion to contextualize the issue discussed in the film.
If you are in India, please spread the word and join us! We are so grateful for another opportunity to show the film to the Indian audience - especially the youth! Thank you!
Director Brent E. Huffman was interviewed on CNBS regarding Trump administration's position on Afghanistan as U.S. newly measures its stake in Afghanistan's natural resources.
According to the CNBC report, the U.S. has spent upwards of $700 billion on Afghanistan's war, and the Trump administration is hoping to recoup some of that via its vast mineral wealth.
Stephen Feinberg, the billionaire financier who owns the military contractor DynCorp International, is informally advising Trump on Afghanistan, according to a report in The New York Times, which said the company may potentially play a role in safeguarding American mining operations. "We have no expectation of supporting commercial mining programs, but continue to work at the direction of the U.S. government," a DynCorp representative told CNBC.
The article introduces Saving Mes Aynak to explain the ongoing history of foreign countries, such as the U.S., Germany, and China, bargaining and claiming stakes in Afghanistan's natural resources.
On Trump administration's possible interest in mining Afghanistan's natural resources, Director Brent E. Huffman commented, "American investment could potentially be worse" to CNBC.
He added that money from the sale of the mining rights could "solely benefit a very small number of corrupt officials," a legitimate fear given Afghanistan's checkered history with what the Brookings Institution recently called "predatory crime and corruption," as evidenced by the interviews and research shown in Saving Mes Aynak.
As of now, the mining of Saving Mes Aynak is still on hold. The Taliban had temporarily shown willingness to cooperate with the mining, but now, CNBC reports, the Trump administration may find the Taliban less than willing to be a partner in stabilizing the country.
The group has urged U.S. forces to leave Afghanistan, and asked Trump not to "hand over the Afghan issue to warmongering generals" as the president weighs a new strategy. On August 15, the Taliban wrote in an open letter that Trump must "understand the realities as a responsible president of the United States, and then make decisions based upon them."
Despite the concerning report, Saving Mes Aynak team remains firm in our belief that Mes Aynak should remain a protected heritage site to be permanently preserved and studied for the advancement Afghanistan's cultural assets.
Saving Mes Aynak returns to Histoire, a French history channel, that aired the film several times throughout Europe last year. We are excited for another opportunity to reach European audiences through TV screens!
Saving Mes Ayank will screen at Beirut Art Film Festival again this November! It's a great honor to be able to go back to Lebanon for another year. We are always looking for ways to make the film more available within the Middle East, so if you are a supporter of Mes Aynak from the region, please contact us for further collaboration!
Saving Mes Aynak returns to Italy after the Life After Oil Film Festival, where the film won the award for Best Feature Documentary. This time, Saving Mes Aynak will be screening at Rassegna, at the International Archaeological Film Festival of Rassegna. We are excited for this opportunity to show the film again to the community that show great appreciation for cultural heritage!
Saving Mes Aynak plays at Tallahassee Film Society from August 4 to 6 this coming month!
This marks the film's first screening in the state of Florida, and hopefully many more to come as we continue to make efforts to raise awareness throughout the U.S. Thank you!
We are delighted to announce that Saving Mes Aynak has won the 2017 Best Direction Award at the Buddha International Film Festival. We had the privilege of screening the film at the National Film Archive of India for this festival, and now we are furthered honored by this recognition. Thank you for all the support!
Saving Mes Aynak will be screening at the National Film Archive of India on June 10th! This is the film's second trip to India this June. We are excited for more opportunities to show the film to various types of communities in India and hoping to spark meaningful conversations and audience participation from the region.
Saving Mes Aynak is going to the UCLA campus this June for a screening at Fowler Museum. This is the film's second trip to UCLA since the screening at the UCLA Television and Film Archive. Much anticipated since March, the free and public screening will be another opportunity to make meaningful conversations around the issues at Mes Aynak.
7PM, June 21, 2017 | UCLA
Saving Mes Aynak will be screening at the World Environmental Film Festival in Hyderabad, India. Hyderabad is the capital of southern India's Telangana state. It is one of major tech cities in India. Through this Festival, Saving Mes Aynak will be screened to high school and college students throughout the city, provoking awareness and conversations about international preservation issues. Stay tuned!
June 3-9, 2017 | Hyderabad, India
"Saving Mes Aynak" is screening to the townspeople of Stockach on May 26th. Stockach is near Lake Constance, south of Germany, not far from the Swiss border. It is a small town of 10,000 residents and a host to various refugees from the Middle East, including the two Afghan refugees who will be attending and speaking at the screening about their experiences.
The screening was organized by Charlotte Blank, who volunteered her time and efforts to translate "Saving Mes Aynak" into German. Through her fellow volunteers who teach German to Afghan refugees in Stockach, Charlotte managed to organize this meaningful occasion for the Stockach community to share their stories through stories of Mes Aynak.
Supporter-organized screenings like this makes the Saving Mes Aynak team see the engine behind our work. In 2017, we seek more opportunities than ever to show "Saving Mes Aynak" to Afghan citizens resettled across the globe!
Evangelical Community House, Tuttlingerstr. 2, Stockach, 78333 Germany
Friday, 26 May, 19:30 - 21:00
Saving Mes Aynak is named CINE Golden Eagle Finalist in the category of Nonfiction Content: Feature – Current Affairs or Investigations. Other honorees include POV's Hooligan Sparrow and The Return, Al Jazeera Media Network's The Poacher's Pipeline, and EPIX's original documentary series America Divided. We are grateful for this honor and congratulations to all finalists!