A student organization dedicated to providing a home away from home for students from the Middle East has been hosting movie screenings featuring explorations of Afghan culture.
The Afghan Student Organization screened “Frame by Frame” in the Student Commons Theater earlier this month, and plans on hosting similar screenings in the future.
“‘Frame by Frame’ captures the essence that Afghanistan is a misunderstood, war-torn country with people, just like us,” said ASO president Aneil Tawakalzada.
The 2015 documentary, directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, follows four Afghan photojournalists as they navigate an emerging and dangerous media landscape while reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. The film includes intimate interviews, powerful photojournalism and never-before-seen archived video footage.
“‘Frame by Frame’ gives our members and the VCU community a sense of awareness as to what sort of impact the Taliban and other terrorist groups have had on the people of Afghanistan,” Tawakalzada said.
Tawakalzada hopes the film will educate and help remedy the disconnect some students may have with the people of Afghanistan.
“Being across the world and sometimes limited to only being knowledgeable about what is shown in the media, it is easy to lump a whole group of people into ‘terrorism’ without fully understanding the situation in that country,” Tawakalzada said.
The ASO is currently looking into acquiring the licensing for the 2010 film “The Black Tulip,” directed by Sonia Nassery Cole. Unlike “Frame by Frame,” “The Black Tulip” is not a documentary, instead depicting the fictional Mansouri family, who start a restaurant in Kabul.
The film focuses on Farishta, a woman who runs the cafe which serves locals and members of the U.S. military. This angers the Taliban, who begin kidnapping and assassinating family and friends of the cafe.
“The Black Tulip” and “Frame by Frame” share a common thread, though. The theme: terrorism does not affect only Americans.
The ASO also hosts many fundraising events throughout the semester, including an event at Pie Five on Feb. 27 from 4 to 10 p.m., and an intercultural pageant in March.
The organization donates 100 percent of the proceeds to Aid Afghanistan for Education, a non-profit organization that builds schools to help educate underprivileged women and children.
To learn more about the Afghan Student Organization and their future events, visit their website or Facebook page.