Recently, Afghanistan hosted the Mehrgan International Film Festival in Kabul, where films were screened at the Academy of Arts and Cinema Sciences of the Afghan Film. At the international film festival, 48 short films from Afghanistan and other countries were selected, 24 of which were produced by Afghans.
The film festival is a major step forward for Afghan cinema, which still has a long way to go to compete with other regional and global productions. The industry has been reviving since the Taliban government was overthrown in 2001. Under the Taliban regime, Afghan cinema was completely shut, movies were destroyed, and the populace was banned from watching films, listening to music, or engaging in any form of the arts.
In the post-Taliban revival, artists have used their platform to address issues of human rights, corruption, war, rule of law and other issues impacting the country. Women comprise a major part of the artists, and have been addressing women’s rights and what they view as important to the status of women and the future of the country.
Afghans are producing movies inside and outside of the country, and many shows are produced locally, tackling all social and political issues. The music scene has grown the most, with Afghan women artists are at the top of the industry, both nationally and globally.
The revival of the arts scene is largely being credited to the determination of Afghan artists. The new government is often criticized for not providing enough support to the promotion of culture and artists.
The Afghan government is currently working on peace negotiation efforts with the Taliban. In a recent interview, Afghan singer Aryana Saeed asked, “If Taliban becomes part of the government, will women have rights or not? Will women be allowed to work and receive an education or not? Will a woman still be allowed to be a doctor, or, for example, like me, a singer?”