The Afghan Film Project is a non-profit foundation formed to tell uniquely Afghan stories while building the capacity of Afghanistan's film industry.
The mission of the Afghan Film Project is to provide the resources, experience, and opportunity to produce narrative and documentary films that tell Afghan stories, while training Afghan producers, directors and crews (grips, electrics, cinematographers, etc.) for highly skilled film jobs that build domestic capacity.
Based in Kabul and Los Angeles, the AFP is made up of internationally recognized film professionals with a passion for Afghanistan and a commitment to sharing their skills with emerging Afghan filmmakers. By providing hands-on training and experience to local filmmakers in all aspects of film production, AFP aims to foster an environment in which films of the highest standard can be produced for international and domestic audiences.
By providing workshops, experience and mentoring with international film professionals, AFP will help develop the skills of Afghanistan’s next generation of filmmakers, allowing them to bring Afghan stories to the screen with renewed skill and energy. Buzkashi Boys, an Oscar nominated coming of age story set in Kabul, was the first narrative film produced in conjunction with AFP, and was the perfect project to provide hands-on training and experience to an Afghan film crew in all aspects of dramatic filmmaking.
Heidi Spencer, an American resident and global citizen graduated with a degree in filmmaking. During her time in university, Heidi was influential in getting the African Artists' Association (3As) started, a non-profit designed to promote and engage African filmmakers from the diaspora through workshops and events enabling them to tell their own stories. Shortly after starting the 3As, Heidi was elected as Secretary to the Afghan Film Project which she managed for 3 years before being selected as its Executive Director. The Afghan Film Project focuses on providing Afghans with the tools to tell their own stories and rebuild their image to the world. Heidi's goal is to see Afghan cinema compete on the global level and promote sustainable economic growth as a result.
Ariel Nasr the, producer of Buzkashi Boys, is an Afghan-Canadian filmmaker and visual artist whose work focuses on documenting contemporary Afghan society. Director of award-winning documentaries “The Boxing Girls of Kabul” and “Good Morning Kandahar” (National Film Board of Canada), Ariel’s work encompasses producing and directing across many platforms and has been broadcast around the world. In 2010 Ariel co-founded the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO to build capacity in Afghanistan’s film industry. He is currently based in Montreal.
Leslie Knott is an award winning filmmaker and photographer who has spent more than a decade telling stories from Afghanistan. A founder of Tiger Nest Films, she has produced and directed films for BBC, Channel 4, ITV, ABC, CNN and NBC. She has been nominated for both an Academy Award and an Emmy for her story telling from Afghanistan. She co-founded the Afghan Film Project in 2009. Her first film, Out of the Ashes, a heart-warming story of the Afghan cricket team’s journey to the cricket world cup, was the recipient of the Grierson Award in 2011, as well as the Peace and Sport Award that same year. With a focus on the human element of conflict, Leslie balances her visual storytelling between films for broadcast and for international aid agencies.
A founding director of Development Pictures based in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sam French is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has appeared on Channel 4, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, HBO, and other broadcast outlets. In 2011, Sam directed “Buzkashi Boys,” one of the first narrative fiction films to be shot entirely on location in Kabul with a mixed Western and Afghan crew. This film was the first project of the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO that Sam co-founded in 2010 to help train Afghan filmmakers and foster Afghanistan’s film industry.