Published on 6 June, 2017 | af Jeppe Svan Sørensen
Filmpuls interview: Shahrbanoo Sadat (Wolf and Sheep)
Shahrbanoo Sadats debutfilm Wolf and Sheep havde præmiere i torsdags – og har indtil videre fået en varm velkomst – læs vores anmeldelse her.
Vi var så heldige at sidde ned med den unge afghanske instruktør, og hørte den kringlede historie om tilblivelsen af Wolf and Sheep, der involverede omrokering på grund af krig, lav-praktisk konstruktion af en afghansk landsby fra hukommelsen, skuespiller-transport forbi Taliban-styrker og hårdt arbejdende landsbyboere uden fingeraftryk!
Shahrbanoo Sadat er en spændende og lovende instruktør, og vi glæder os til at se hvad hun har at byde på i fremtiden!
Se video-interview foroven, eller læs en løs transkribering herunder:
Wolf and Sheep has been a long under way – How long did it take to get it made, and what has the process been like?
8 years! It was the project I started my career with, in 2008, when I entered Kabul University in the cinema and theater department, and it was the very first project that I started working with. This was also before I started making any of my short films. I had this idea but I didn’t really know what to do with it. So I wrote this treatment and “accidentally” send it to the Cannes Cinéfondation. When they selected my project I was invited to Paris to work, and for 4 and half months I lived in a Cannes apartment with other young directors – and that’s how I got connected to the european cinema network. A few years later I found my producer, Katja, she has a danish production company in Copenhagen. But it was tricky in terms of financing and where to shoot the movie. I wanted to shoot it in my old village in central Afghanistan but we couldn’t do that because of security issues, the election at the time, and attacks like the one in Kabul Airport, so we constantly had to postpone the shooting.
Actually the village in the movie, was one of the safest in all of Afghanistan, but my crew needed to travel through Kabul, and the situation was difficult. So in the last months of shooting we figured we couldn’t shoot there – we needed to look for another country. So we looked all over the world, everything from Marokko to China, and ended in Tajikistan, where I found the nature and mountains close to those of central Afghanistan. But when we went there we found that the architecture in all the houses and villages was very different from in Afghanistan. So we had to make the entire village! (Den der ses i filmen)
In the beginning I talked with an Art Director about making this village, because it would take too long to try and create it from the images in my head – which I wasn’t even sure would be correct. But eventually I decided to make the village together with Anwar, because we were the only Afghan members of the team – the rest was all european – so only we knew the language, the culture and the story on a personal level.
(Filmen “Wolf and Sheep” er løst baseret på Anwar Hashimi dagbog fra hans barndom i en afghansk fårehyrde landsby som set i filmen. Shahrbanoo og Anwar kendte ikke hinanden som børn, men er gode venner nu, og hun drager inspiration fra begge deres barndomsminder)
So we started to sketch all the houses from the images we had in our minds, and also from the pictures we took during the 2 years of casting in Afghanistan. Then we started working with the local construction builders in Tajikistan, and we made an Afghan village in 5 weeks! (Griner)
So then we went back to Afghanistan to bring our cast – I only casted real villagers from small Afghan communities, most of them my relatives, and some just people living in the region. But it was a little bit tricky, because they all lived in rural parts of the country – and they were not even registered! So I had to go to the government office to make national ID’s for them, and apply for passports! And take all of these documents to Kabul to get visas. But there was a big problem, because these people worked hard on their fields that they didn’t have any fingerprints! (Griner) I was about to have a heart attack when they told me in the office: “Excuse me this doesn’t work, because they don’t have fingerprints!” So we had to wait, and but cream and some kind of plastic on their fingers so the prints would come back. After that month we were able to re-apply, and some of them could, and some of them couldn’t because their fingers were too rough.
So then I had to get the people from the villages to Kabul, all by myself! I put a burkha on, and had to drive them very carefully all the way, because any minute we could get pulled over by the Taliban, who would most likely steal the passports. It was a little bit action-packed!
By the time I arrived in Kabul the Taliban took a big part of northern Afghanistan – which borders Tajikistan – so the Tajikistan government decided not to issue any more visas!
The price for a single entry ticket to Tajikistan on the black market was 2000 dollars – of course I didn’t have that kind of money, nor the time! So I went to the Taijikan embassy in Kabul and there was this big man sitting there – I was just a small woman – and he looked at me very weirdly! I showed him all the pictures of the 38 villagers and asked for visas for the film-project, and he was like “Are you crazy? Do you have any understanding of the political situation at the moment? Who cares about you and your movie right now?” (Griner)
Finally we got help from someone at the foreign ministry, and after a lot of paperwork, we got the visas, and we flew to Tajikistan – which was a big experience for the villagers, most of them had never been away from the rural country, and hadn’t even seen Kabul or knew were Tajikistan was. Making this movie might have been the biggest experience in their lives! This is why, during production, I never felt like I was making a film – because nothing was “professional”. The way I worked with them over the 5-6 weeks, and how I explained the story to them – it was all a big ‘hangout’! I enjoyed it a lot!