It has now been a year since I left Afghanistan. I had hoped to return in 2011, but a production I was supposed to join up with fell apart days before I was meant to leave. Let’s just say a type-A producer who thought he could bluster his way out of any problem pushed his luck too far with his funder, and I had to come up with Plan B. The upside was that this allowed me to take “Waterwheel” around to more screenings in Santa Paula and St. Helena, California, and accompany it to the Alexandria Film Festival in Virginia, the Reel Independent Film Extravaganza in Washington, DC, and send it off to the Napa Valley Film Festival, which I wasn’t able to attend in person.
My mother and I capped off the exhibition tour with a screening at the Avalon Theatre in Washington, DC, which was well attended and raised over $10,000 for the Afghanistan Women Council. Not too bad. My mother has superior fundraising and organizing skills, without which this documentary might have just been a conversation piece, but she helped turn each screening into a successful fundraising event.
Finally, I was thrilled to sit down for an interview with Voice of America’s Philippa Levenberg for their weekly special broadcast on Afghan TV. They profiled the AWC for 5 minutes, which is wonderful exposure, especially for the female audience. I’d love to know what kind of conversations this sparked about education in Afghan households! The video can be found here.
2011 has been a great year for the AWC, and I look forward to continued partnership with them. I am going to try to visit Afghanistan again in 2012, both to revisit the AWC and hopefully to find some new organizations and people to talk to. I look forward to sharing their stories with you.