We won the Best Documentary – Speaking Truth to Power Award at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival in November, and the Critics Choice Award at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Arkansas in October. Thank you to both juries!
Also, thanks to David Hudson at the Criterion Daily for highlighting What We Left Unfinished as a particular treat for cinephiles in their DOC NYC preview, David Morgan at CBS News for naming WWLU a highlight of the festival, and Basil Tsiokos for the shout-out in Filmmaker’s DOC NYC preview – you helped us sell out our NYC premiere!
Special thanks also to Beth Accomando and Brian Hu for their extended discussion of What We Left Unfinished in the KPBS feature on SDAFF’s 20th anniversary edition: “If you love film or history, this is a riveting work.”
NOW Toronto named What We Left Unfinished a must-see film at Reel Asian:
Nowadays there’s a lot of talk about so-called “hybrid” documentary/ fiction films, but Afghanistan’s communist propagandists were way ahead of the curve. In 1978, the revolution ushered in 12 years when arts and culture could thrive, despite censorship. Drawing on a trove of epic archival footage from five unfinished state-financed movies, first-time feature director Ghani shows the fascinating ways reality intersected with fiction over the Soviet-Afghan War period.
From using live ammo – yes, there were accidents – to encountering real enemies to former president Hafizullah Amin and his family playing themselves, the films (mostly melodramas and military thrillers) that make up What We Left Unfinished are packed with gonzo behind-the-scenes stories. Ultimately, these anecdotes flow into a larger, more melancholy portrait of what artists are capable of when fast-shifting political situations collide with deeply entrenched cultural mores. (Kevin Ritchie)
And Asian Movie Pulse also ran a review from Reel Asian:
Supported by interviews with the cast and crew from the films, Ghani paints an interesting, sometimes amusing, sometimes scary image of what it means to make films under often adverse circumstances … as the film progresses, you cannot help but feel a deep respect for these men and women who have worked under these circumstances, who have dared to create something, albeit unfinished, which can be regarded as an important evidence of the creative human spirit. (Rouven Linnarz)