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Development   /  Jolyon Hoff

Watandar | My Countryman

As his country is lost to the Taliban, Afghan photographer Muzafar Ali finds a new community in the Australian desert.

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Impact areas

ARTS

HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE

INDIGENOUS

Crew

  • DIRECTOR Jolyon Hoff

  • PRODUCER Muzafar Ali

Synopsis

DURATION: 90 MINUTES

When the Taliban take over Afghanistan, former Afghan-Hazara refugee and human rights activist, Muzafar Ali, is photographing the descendants of the Afghan Cameleers in Australia. He now knows he can never return home and his photography project becomes an even more personal journey about losing your country and the importance of identity.

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0% funded
  • $150,000.00

    FUNDING GOAL
  • $0.00

    FUNDS RAISED
  • June 2022

    PROJECT ENDS
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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Australia is rapidly becoming a more multicultural and internationally integrated country, but part of our challenge is to combine our black, white and immigrant histories.

Muzafar recognises the importance of identity and wants to know, after 160 years, what have the Cameleer Descendants held on to, and what have they lost? How do they identify themselves? When the Taliban take over Afghanistan, he realises he’ll never be able to return, and has to ask himself the same question for his own descendants.

Impact

What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Muzafar’s search for Watandar (Afghan for countryman) is a universal search for belonging and his search will give Australians a new way to view our own racial and colonial history. We want Australians to recognise that we’re directly connected to the situation in Afghanistan and have been for 160 years.

Outcomes

What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Issues of race, immigration and contested history are some of the most divisive in contemporary Australia. Watandar will provide a generous and authentic space for the audience to engage with these issues and, through Muzafar’s colleagues and friends in Afghanistan, an unfiltered perspective on the humanitarian crisis there.

Activities

How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Watandar will facilitate considered discussions of issues of identity and immigration throughout Australia’s communities, supported by complementary projects such as the Hawke Gallery exhibit, targeted cinema screenings with Q&A sessions, and a planned published book of Muzafar’s photographs.

Stakeholders

How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have support from members of the Cameleer descendant community, the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation, the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, Afghan-Aboriginal-Australian Artist Nici Cumpston and the former Afghan Ambassador to Australia. We expect this network to grow as we develop the film.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We want our audience to engage with the difficult conversations about identity and race in Australia and to gain, through Muzafar, a genuine perspective on the situation in Afghanistan.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Our indicators will include box office and audience size, and the demand for further outreach in the form of community, school and university screenings and further collaborative educational projects.