Sahraa Karimi, film director (“Hava, Maryam, Ayesha”) and head of the Afghan Film Organization, has been named as head of the jury at the next edition of the Stockholm International Film Festival.
The festival’s 32nd edition will run Nov. 10-21, 2021 in the Swedish capital. It expects to put on 100 film premieres in both cinemas and online via Festival on Demand. The jury will decide the winner of the Bronze Horse for best film, and Aluminium horses for best director, first film, cinematography, script, actor and actress.
Karimi, who escaped from Afghanistan and the advancing forces of the Taliban in August, will also participate in a panel that aims to raise awareness about the threat towards artists and women in the country today.
She recently wrote an open letter to the world’s media about the repressive forces in her country and the particular danger to women and girls.
“[The Taliban] will strip women’s rights, we will be pushed into the shadows of our homes and our voices, our expression will be stifled into silence. When the Taliban were in power, zero girls were in school. Since then, there are over 9 million Afghan girls in school. Just in these few weeks, the Taliban have destroyed many schools and 2 million girls are forced now out of school again,” she said in her letter.
At a panel discussion at the Venice Film Festival this month she explained the potential impact on the film industry. “In the 21st century there is a group of people coming to your country from nowhere and telling you that music is forbidden, cinema is forbidden, artistic work is forbidden, and female artists are just someone who should go to a corner and be isolated,” she said.
“We stand behind brave filmmakers like Sahraa Karimi and will use our platform to share her message about the crisis in Afghanistan. We are honored that Sahraa Karimi has accepted our invitation as the head of jury of the Stockholm XXXII competition,” said festival director Git Scheynius.
The Stockholm festival has previously highlighted and supported other filmmakers who are victims of oppressive regimes including Chinese artist and filmmaker Ai Wei Wei and Iranian film director Mohammad Rasoulof (“There Is No Evil,” “Iron Island”).