Mountainfilm: “Frame by Frame”

Mountainfilm: “Frame by Frame”

For a full schedule of Mountainfilm events, go here.

“Frame by Frame” screens Friday, May 22, 9:15 p.m. at the Palm; Sunday, May 24, 6:45 p.m., The Palm.  

Opening the Festival on Friday morning, Massoud Hossaini and Farzana Wahidy, photojournalists featured in the film, are scheduled to speak at the Moving Mountains Symposium on Afghanistan.

Alexandria Bombach & Mo Scarpelli, co-directors, ‘Frame By Frame"

Alexandria Bombach & Mo Scarpelli, co-directors, ‘Frame By Frame”

The 37th annual Mountainfilm opens Friday, May 22, with the Moving Mountains Symposium, in 2015 dedicated to the “politics, people, photography, poetry, and more..” of the region. Among the speakers at the event is Massoud Hossaini.

Hossaini is a Kabul native and former political activist who, according to Mountainfilm, “got his start photographing Afghan refugees living in Iran. His gut-wrenching photo of a screaming girl in the aftermath of a suicide bombing that killed more than 70 people won him a 2012 Pulitzer Prize. He has covered the war on terrorism since 2007 and is featured in the film “Frame by Frame”  – one of the feature-length and highly anticipated documentaries on Mountainfilm’s program and a recipient of a Mountainfilm Commitment Grant.


Hot Docs Film Festival (International Premiere) – Top 10 Audience Favorites

Ashland International Film Festival – Audience Award for Best Documentary

Nashville Film Festival – Grand Jury Prize for Documentary Competition

“Frame by Frame” is co-directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli.

“Afghanistan is a complex and beautiful country, enriched by the nuanced lives of its people. Yet it has a reputation as a perpetually war torn region, wrought with suicide bombs, political corruption, and Islamic fundamentalism. In 2012, we traveled to Afghanistan in search of a story about perception  – how and why do we form our perceptions of a country at war? And how does this intersect what is actually happening on the ground?,” state the directors.

Alexandria and Mo are very sharp, great filmmakers,” said producer Trevor Hall, CEO, Creative Visions Foundation. “‘Frame by Frame’ is GORGEOUS,and also a rare personal look into the lives for four incredible photojournalists and beautiful people.This is not a commentary/information-filled documentary, rather a character study that makes a compellingly human case for freedom of the press and protection of journalists, while combating unfounded stereotypes about the people of Afghanistan.” 

In “Frame by Frame” the two directors focus on four local photojournalists: Hossaini; Farzana Wahidy, who had been victimized by the Taliban, earned an education in Canada, returned to her country to become an advocate for women; Massoud Wahidy, husband of Farzana, son of a former Afghan official, forced to flee with his family to Iran, now Chief Photographer for AP in Kabul; and Najibullah Musafar who, despite the ban by the Taliban on all media, managed to create photos and video footage that serve as grave reminders of the atrocities that can happen to a country, to a people, when power goes undocumented and unchecked.

“We fall in love with Afghanistan through his eyes – the dust-covered streets, white pigeons perched on a mosque, laughing kids piled up on an old bike. We follow him to the classroom, on his quest to build confidence and curiosity in a new generation of young photographers,” explain the directors.

All the stories, say Alexandria and Mo, bridge what often feels like an insurmountable divide between Afghans and Western audiences:

“We also knew that this story couldn’t be more timely. Right now, the future of Afghanistan is mired in uncertainty. The government has just transitioned power to a new president. U.S. security forces are pulling out, foreign media are shuttering bureaus, and aid —which helped jumpstart Afghanistan’s free press movement —is dwindling. After more than 13 years of historical growth, free press stands as one of Afghanistan’s most viable hopes for political and social stability. Now is the time to shed light on the realities of building free press in a country whose future may depend on it.”

For a preview of what’s in store:

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