World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography
In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over five years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds—making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.
De Pue’s transportative and wonderfully crafted film confronts the visceral beauty and roughness of survival, serving as a testament to the spirited innovation of childhood and the extreme resilience of a people and country.
SECTION World Doc
RUN TIME 87 min
LANGUAGE English and Russian/Farsi/Pashtu/Uzbek/Waghi/Khyrgyz
Pieter-Jan De Pue graduated from the visual arts school RITS with his short film 0, which received the third prize at the United Nations Mediterranean Environmental Awards in Almería and special mentions at other festivals. As part of his work on this documentary, he has been traveling for long periods of time to Afghanistan, photographing the country and its people for organizations such as the International Red Cross, Caritas Internationalis, and Demining.