Magazine article Variety

Afghan Helmer Defies Odds with 'President'

Magazine article Variety

Afghan Helmer Defies Odds with 'President'

Article excerpt

roya sadat needs a champion. Her film, "A Letter to the President," is Afghanistan's contender in Oscar's foreign language film category, but the production just does not have the resources to mount an Oscar campaign.

"It is difficult for us, because we still haven't finished paying for the film," says Sadat. The film world premiered at Locarno in August where Hong Kong based Asian Shadows signed on for international sales.

"A Letter to the President," a social drama that follows a woman on death row who writes to the Afghanistan president explaining the societal reasons that led her to murder her husband, is playing in the Busan Film Festival's A Window on Asian Cinema section.

Sadat grew up in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime, meaning that she was confined to her home and could not go to school. She discovered cinema through a book and became fascinated by the medium. She used her time at home to write plays and drafts of a screenplay that eventually became her 2003 crime drama "Three Dots."

Sadat's first act after the Taliban regime departed in 2001 was to begin shooting "Three Dots" (2003), set in her native city of Herat. The film travelled to global festivals including Three Continents in Nantes and the Bangkok Film Festival, and along with Sidik Barmak's "Osama" (2003), which won a Golden Globe, and put Afghanistan on the world cinema map.

Upon completion of "Three Dots" she studied law and politics at university. Subsequently, along with her sister Alka, Roya set up Roya Film House, Afghanistan's first women-run film company. …

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