- Title: 'I was lucky,' says Afghan filmmaker Sadat on fleeing Kabul
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS PROFANITY*** (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "She (her producer) wrote to me exactly the Taliban will enter tomorrow in Kabul, I didn't, you know I didn't realize, I didn't get it, that this is real. They are coming tomorrow. They're taking Kabul. I didn't realise it and then the next day I went to the bank close by to my apartment and I saw 500 people like a crowd gathering in front of the bank trying to take their money out and then we had this rumour the Taliban has been seen in that part of the town, and in that part of the town and suddenly like in one hour, the security guards at the bank they evacuated, they emptied the bank and they kicked everyone out of the bank and we were on the street. And there was, I was together with this crowd running in the street. And then we saw cars of Taliban with white flags with their slogan on the flags. And that was like a moment that you know everyone, we're running. And that was, for me, that was like a moment of a movie, that couldn't be real because I was in the middle of the street, of Kabul, with all these people, running." KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (RECENT - AUGUST 25, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CROWDS GATHERED OUTSIDE A BANK IN ORDER TO DRAW MONEY OUT AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "I received on that day, I received a visa and some documents from U.S. embassy and I showed that to the, to the Taliban who were in charge of the first checkpoint and he looked at my document then said "ha, where did you get this from?" and I was like "the U.S. embassy" and he said, "no, these people are buying this in the black market for a very cheap price. Everyone in this crowd they have this visa". And then I looked at my visa and I was like "Shit, yes, he's right" because there is no name on the visa." KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CROWDS AROUND KABUL AIRPORT AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "And then the Taliban were pushing people pushing the crowd like treating them like a flock of sheep. And there were old people, babies, young people, all kinds of people. They wanted to queue, this crowd, which was impossible because the crowd was pushing, you know, the crowd was pushing from all directions and Taliban were walking with cables, with the cables and with guns and with even with RPG on their back like all kind of arms on their backs." KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF CROWDS AROUND KABUL AIRPORT AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "And my niece and my nephew, they were together with me, and my parents and my sister and my brother in law. So they were like one after another, they were fainting, because of the sun and you know, we just, I think there was a moment that I wanted to give up, and I said to my sister, "I don't think that we can go anywhere" because the queue was not even moving further, so I said to my sister, "let's go" and my older sister saying like no, we come here we don't go home if we go home we never can reach the airport, so let's just stay, let's resist". And then finally the crowd was pushing and then the Taliban, they couldn't control the crowd so the crowd was pushing and suddenly you know the crowd was like was pushing going forward and we made it from the first checkpoint to the second." KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) PLANE TAKING OFF FROM KABUL AIRPORT ROISSY-EN-FRANCE (RECENT - AUGUST 18, 2021) (REUTERS) AIR BRIDGE BEING ATTACHED TO AIRCRAFT VARIOUS OF EVACUEES FROM KABUL WALKING INSIDE THE AIR BRIDGE AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "This is really sad because my family they could get out because they are my family because I can speak English because I'm a filmmaker because the world knows me." WHITE FLASH FRAME (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "I'm very proud of myself that I did that and I took at least nine people with me out, but at the same time, I'm very ashamed and embarrassed because, I mean, you know, like why I am better than others? I am saved but there are many, many, many people that are there and we don't know if they can, they can make it. They don't have, they are not as lucky as I was and I am ashamed that I'm, I am ashamed that I am one of the people, you know, who could get out." VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF ESTATE WHERE EVACUEES FROM AFGHANISTAN ARE OBSERVING A 10-DAY LOCKDOWN
- Embargoed: 10th September 2021 15:57
- Keywords: Afghan film maker Cannes Kabul Taliban director Shahrbanoo Sadat
- Location: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- City: VARIOUS LOCATIONS
- Country: France
- Topics: Europe,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA006ES23NLZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Shahrbanoo Sadat is one of the very few Afghan filmmakers who made it to the Cannes Film Festival red carpet to present her work.
Hours before the Taliban took control of Kabul, she received an offer to leave Afghanistan. She declined, as it would mean leaving family members behind.
The next day she went to the bank. It is there she realised that radical change was coming to the capital. Many Afghans, just like her, were desperately trying to withdraw money from their accounts.
"(Suddenly) we saw Taliban cars with white flags ... and ... we're running," Sadat told Reuters in an interview. "And that was for me like a moment of a movie that couldn't be real because I was in the middle of Kabul."
Accompanied by nine family members, Sadat, whose first feature film "Wolf and Sheep" won the main prize at Cannes festival Directors' Fortnight section in 2016, eventually headed for Kabul airport. They arrived in Paris earlier this week.
Little did she know her journey to the airport would take days with many hurdles to overcome.
Sadat said it took 72 hours from her leaving her apartment to reaching French troops at Kabul airport, where she spent a night at their compound before flying to Abu Dhabi.
She described chaotic scenes while queuing outside the airport.
Overwhelmed by the heat and slow pace, Sadat said she nearly gave up queuing but was encouraged to keep going by her sister.
Kabul airport has been thronged with Afghans trying to board evacuation flights following the Taliban's takeover, fearing reprisals and a return to a harsh version of Islamic law the group practiced when it was last in power.
The Taliban has sought to assure the crowds at Kabul airport that they have nothing to fear and should go home.
Sadat, who was born in Iran and moved to Afghanistan in December 2001, was working on a romantic comedy before fleeing.
She said she was proud of having succeeded in ex-filtrating her family but said she also felt shame to be one of the lucky ones.
Sadat and her family are now safe in a housing estate provided by French authorities in the north of Paris. She says she is still in shock only a few days after leaving Kabul. But she knows cinema is part of her future.
Sadat, whose films depict ordinary life, said back in Kabul, many of her friends and relatives are still trying to get out, including a young actor, Qodratollah Qadiri, who featured in both her films, "Wolf and Sheep" and more recently, "The Orphanage".
(Production: Lucien Libert)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None