Dear Supporter of Mes Aynak,
As we reflect back on a tumultuous 2016 and celebrate the holidays with our loved ones, we hope we can take a moment to remember Mes Aynak and what is at stake for the cultural history of the world if this ancient city were to be destroyed. We are committed to saving Mes Aynak in 2017 - but we need your help.
Please read on for important updates about the film and awareness campaign to save and protect this priceless ancient site. Thank you for your continued support.
NETFLIX & DVD RELEASE!
This January, "Saving Mes Aynak" will stream on Netflix! This is a major opportunity for the film to be seen by American audiences so make sure to share the news with your family and friends. The film is also now available with Spanish subtitles, making it easier to share at bilingual workplaces and schools.
The special edition DVD of "Saving Mes Aynak" is on sale! Until January 1st, you can get the DVD for only $14.99 (50% off!) with the coupon code "KTQ50."
The DVD features 15 minutes of never-seen-before scenes from Mes Aynak, as well as closed captions and foreign language subtitles in French, German, Italian, and Japanese.
While supplies last, you can also purchase the official and limited edition posters of "Saving Mes Aynak" on our website. Our newest item for sale is the official "Save Mes Aynak" T-shirt with the signature image of the Sitting Buddha statue discovered at Mes Aynak. The special edition DVD, film poster, and T-shirt all make great holiday gifts!
All proceeds from the sale of T-shirts will go toward the awareness campaign to save Mes Aynak.
"SAVING MES AYNAK" AROUND THE WORLD
"Saving Mes Aynak" had many successful screenings around the world and in the U.S this fall.
In October, the film screened in Athens, Greece at AGON, the 10th annual International Meeting of Archaeological Films. "Saving Mes Aynak" was incredibly well received and went on to win the Grand Prize of the fest!
At the end of October, the film screened both in France at ICRONOS, the International Archaeological Film Festival in Bordeaux, and in Virginia at the American Conservation Film Festival. At both festivals, audiences and jury members alike continued to fall in love with the film, being awarded both the Grand Prize and the Audience Award at ICRONOS and winning the Green Spark award, highlighting conservation heroes, at the American Conservation Film Festival.
In November, the film traveled the world from the United States, to Europe, to the Middle East. The film first stopped in Lebanon for the Beirut Art Film Festival and then played the next day in Cooperstown, NY at Glimmerglass Film Days. "Saving Mes Aynak" had a successful, full-house screening there, on the shores of Lake Otsego, and had a wonderful post-screening discussion lead by Hannah Bloch, NPR Digital Editor and former Time correspondent in Afghanistan.
At The International Festival of Archaeological Films of Bidasoa in San Sebastian Spain, "Saving Mes Aynak" won big, taking home both the Grand Prize of the Jury and the Audience Favorite Award. It's the first time in the 15 years of the festival that a single film has taken home both prizes. We are very grateful to the festival for the awards and for providing us with Spanish subtitles for the film!
Saving Mes Aynak broadcast on Histoire, a French TV channel, five times throughout October and November. "Saving Mes Aynak" continues to be available on VOD and on air on the Buddhist True Network (BTN) of South Korea.
We were very honored to participate in the 2016 edition of the China Onscreen Biennial as a part of the Dunhuang Projected sidebar. We first screened at the UCLA Film & Television Archives which started with a 30-minute meditation session and ended with a discussion, via Skype, with Director Brent Huffman. Last week, Brent attended the second screening for the Biennial at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Both screenings were incredibly well attended and mark a very important step in raising awareness of Mes Aynak in the United States.
Starting today, "Saving Mes Aynak" will be a part of Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference at the University of Southampton. "Sightations" is an archaeology-inspired exhibition running as part of this year’s Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference, featuring mediums of "drawings, photography, comics, painting, sculpture, textiles, ceramic, CGI, film, video, gaming, virtual reality, and digital works" that "unpack what it means to represent archaeology visually in 2016."
We are excited for this opportunity to show the film in the UK for the second time this year, after our Bertha DocHouse screening, alongside various artists who, in their own ways demonstrate "future directions for archaeological visualizations."
It's such an honor to receive this great recognition from the international archaeology community and to continue to share the film in meaningful programs around the world. Thank you! Now, it is more important than ever to spread the word about Mes Aynak throughout our communities to stop this senseless destruction from happening.
RECENT MES AYNAK NEWS
While we continue towards our goal of raising awareness around the world to protect Mes Aynak, we still have an uphill battle to face from those who want to mine and destroy Mes Aynak. That battle became even more difficult and pressing today as we learned of the report that the Taliban in Afghanistan have offered to provide security to major government projects, such as the mining of the copper deposit in Mes Aynak, a natural gas pipeline project, and other highway and railway projects.
Although excavation efforts in Mes Aynak have slowed down significantly due to threats by the Taliban, it was this instability of security that has continued to force MCC to hold off on mining Mes Aynak. Now, with the Taliban on the side of mining, the peace of Mes Aynak is in immediate danger.
People are voicing their frustration at the news:
Although critics in Afghanistan, including the Afghan government, are responding to Taliban's announcement with suspicion, there is no denial that this move will begin to clear the way for mining to begin in Mes Aynak at any moment. If this happens, all preserved and undiscovered cultural heritage on site will be obliterated.
Now, it is more important than ever to spread the word about Mes Aynak throughout our communities.
Since the 2014 premiere, "Saving Mes Aynak" has traveled the world and engaged with audiences of all kinds to spread awareness to the endangered beauty and cultural significance of Mes Aynak. Yet, now with the Taliban clearing the way, mining in Mes Aynak can start any time.
As an international community of protectors for Mes Aynak, we must keep our opposition strong and take action. Please consider taking on one of these actions today:
- Host screenings of the film for your community. Tell us of any opportunities to show the film to any relevant experts and officials in your area.
- Sign the Change.org petition asking Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani and others to preserve the site.
- Write letters to President Ghani and other Afghan officials expressing your support.
- Contact your local U.S. embassy or your closest Afghan embassy to let them know that you support the protection of Mes Aynak.
- Contact your UNESCO office and let them know that you want to preserve Mes Aynak.
- Volunteer to translate our film into other languages to reach a global audience.
- Share your ideas by emailing us at SavingMesAynak@kartemquin.com or on our website.
- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtag #SaveMesAynak to tell your social network why Mes Aynak matters to you.
We hope to see the Afghan government invite UNESCO to officially designate Mes Aynak a protected World Heritage Site.
Together we MUST SAVE MES AYNAK!
Brent E. Huffman and the "Saving Mes Aynak" Team