(San Francisco, CA) — The statistics are staggering; one in seven Afghan women die in childbirth. In MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN, filmmaker Sedika Mojadidi goes back with her Afghan-born parents to Kabul to witness her father’s work as an OB/GYN at the recently renamed Laura Bush Maternity Ward. Both her parents had fled Afghanistan for America where they have had successful careers but the tumult of war has drawn them back to their homeland, where they hope to make a difference. MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN will have its television premiere on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 10pm (check local listings).
When the US invaded Afghanistan in October of 2001, Afghan hopes were high that democracy would bring enormous progress for Afghan women in the arena of health and education. In 2003, nearly two years after the Taliban’s fall, Dr. Mojadidi was invited by the United States Government to help rehabilitate the largest women’s hospital in the country, Rabia Balkhi, now newly re-named as the Laura Bush Maternity Ward. What he finds is appalling – the conditions at the hospital are unworkable, and none of the equipment and supplies that were promised has arrived. After several months, Dr. Mojadidi leaves in frustration. Two years later, he returns to Afghanistan to work with Shuhada, an Afghan-led non-governmental organization that runs hospitals, where Dr. Mojadidi attempts to pass on his knowledge to the over-worked and under-trained doctors and to help the hundreds of women who have traveled days to see him.
A rare and moving glimpse of humanity and the power of compassion set against the backdrop of a land in turmoil and transition, MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN highlights the strength of the Afghan women and the quiet deeds of those who work to improve their lives.
The interactive companion website for MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN (www.pbs.org/independentlens/motherlandafghanistan) features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for views to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Sedika Mojadidi (Director) is an Afghan-American filmmaker who has produced both independent and television projects. She has produced two experimental documentary shorts on Afghanistan, Kabul, Kabul (2000) and Zulaikha (2002), distributed by Third World Newsreel. Her work has been broadcast on PBS, The Learning Channel, and The Discovery Channel. Mojadidi holds master’s degrees in Film Theory from the University of Florida and Video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jenny Raskin (producer) has produced documentaries that have been broadcast on The Sundance Channel, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Health Channel, A&E and NPR. Her feature documentary, On Hostile Ground, was released theatrically to critical acclaim and was aired on The Sundance Channel. Catherine Gund’s (producer) acclaimed documentary work includes A TOUCH OF GREATNESS (which aired on Independent Lens in 2005), Hallelujah!, On Hostile Ground and others, which have aired on the Sundance Channel, PBS and in theatrical release.
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