The journey from Afghanistan to USA was a long but much-needed one. Yet the love for the country where he was born brought him back to the same country where he had served as a child labour during the Taliban reign. Director Jawad Wahabzada is glad he can now shave and sport short hair and wear the latest clothes without any fear. Filmmaker S. Ali Mousavi Azad is happy he is free to do the hookah and think of opening a coffee shop while Paeman Arianfar is simply glad he can act and direct. The three directors from Afghanistan will be showing their independent films in the short package category, all of which are filled with a lot of hope for children the world over.

Jawad who served as a child labour during the Taliban rule found an escape when he was taken by a couple to US where his aunt adopted him. He recollects, “Life in those days was no better than what Khaled Hosseini or many such other writers described. We as boys couldn’t play, watch TV, listen to radio or even play. Working as a child labour stole most of our childhood and it was difficult putting the pieces back in place. I was glad I was taken to America where I could study and live normally. After I grew up and completed my studies I came back to Kabul to see a new country, one that is much better than what I had left. Everyone is putting the pieces together. It is a long journey but we are positive about it.” Jawad’s documentary Children of Kabul will be screened.

The three say that though recollecting their past is a nightmare, they still talk about it to feel blessed about the present. “We occasionally joke about the life we lived.” says Paeman.

Children of Kabul unfolds the tragedy by taking viewers into the lives of Fayaz, Omid, Yasamin and Sanabar - four Afghan children who represent the future of the country at a critical juncture. There are thousands of similar stories of children in Kabul who struggle every day to support their families. Each of these war affected children provides a snapshot of the country while hinting at a dangerous future.

S. Ali Mousavi Azad will be showing his Uncrowded, a short film.

All three men are glad that their movies got selected. “Out of the six sent from Afghanistan, four movies have been selected to be a part of this big festival. This is really big in India and we hope we will have such events in our country someday. Movies are definitely a good medium to educate children about their rights and about the world,” says Azad.

What about watching other’s films? “All of us have just reached and we will make the most to educate ourselves and take back something for the children in our country.” Then Paeman adds, “Afghanistan is really beautiful. Bombs don’t go off everyday as people think. Come visit our country.”