- Title: 'I was lucky,' says Afghan filmmaker Sadat on fleeing Kabul
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: AUBERVILLIERS, FRANCE (AUGUST 26, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHAN FILM DIRECTOR, SHAHRBANOO SADAT, SAYING: "I was informed at 2:00 A.M. that Taliban will come, will take Kabul tomorrow and I was asked to go to Baron Camp, close to the airport."
- 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: LVA004ES23NLZ
- 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
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