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!