"Brent E. Huffman's gift as a cinematographer provides haunting, lyrical images and as a director he wisely balances the passion of Temori with the eternal loss of something worth saving. Saving Mes Aynak is simply required viewing for those whose soul will compel them to act. Unique and immediate. That rare doc that NEEDS to be seen." - Indiewire
The story of a race against time to save a 5,000-year-old archaeological site in Afghanistan, which is under threat right now.
As a Chinese mining company closes in on the copper reserves beneath the ancient site of Mes Aynak, the film follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he spearheads the campaign to save it from destruction. Only 10% of Mes Aynak has been excavated and some believe future discoveries have the potential to redefine the history of Afghanistan and the history of Buddhism itself.
Saving Mes Aynak examines the conflict between cultural preservation and economic opportunity through the lens of the archaeologists and local villagers who work and live near Mes Aynak. Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archaeologists face what seems an impossible battle against the Chinese corporation, the Taliban and local politics to save their cultural heritage from likely erasure.
The screening of Saving Mes Aynak will be followed by a panel Q&A featuring director Brent E. Huffman, (via Skype) Dr. Roderick Whitfield and Stephen Carter.
Dr. Roderick Whitfield, a professor in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS University of London is a specialist in Buddhist Art and History and cultural preservation.
Stephen Carter is the Afghanistan Campaign Leader for Global Witness, a non-profit organisation that calls for government transparency. He has been working in Kabul at the site itself investigating the Chinese mining contract and has reports of recent looting at the site. He'll be traveling from working at Mes Aynak from Kabul on Monday.
Part of Middle East Watch Season: Afghanistan