Midnight Traveler

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    Midnight Traveler

    Directed by

    USA, United Kingdom, Qatar, Canada

    2019

    87 min

    • English
    • Persian

    Documentary

    Scope Expanded - Staff Picks

    Fateful developments and surprising twists in the lives of their protagonists are welcome ingredients for documentary filmmakers. But when the director and his family are themselves the protagonists in their own film, every threatening situation becomes a conflict of conscience. Is it right to film every dramatic moment or is it morally wrong to think about a good film scene in the midst of misfortune?
    In 2015, a death threat from the Taliban saw Afghan director Hassan Fazili and his wife Fatima Hussaini, also a filmmaker, in exactly this situation. Together with their two daughters Nargis (11) and Zahra (6), they flee from their homeland to distant Europe in search of safety. The couple, and their two daughters, use their mobile phones to film their journey, which was to last several years. On the Balkan route, during long and uncertain stays in various refugee camps, they draw strength from documenting their difficult situation. Despite adversities and setbacks, the parents never once lose their humanity. They bear all manner of hardships and hope for a better future for their daughters, who become more and more independent as the long journey progresses.

    Awards

    • Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention - Berlin IFF
    • World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award - Sundance FF
    • Special Jury Award - Thessaloniki Documentary FF
    • Grand Angle Audience Award - Visions du Réel
    • McBaine Documentary Feature Award - San Francisco IFF
    • Grand Jury Special Mention - Sheffield Doc/Fest

    Festivals

    Credits

    Cast
    Nargis Fazili
    Zahra Fazili
    Fatima Hussaini
    Hassan Fazili
    Screenplay
    Emelie Mahdavian
    Cinematography
    Fatima Hussaini
    Hassan Fazili
    Nargis Fazili
    Zahra Fazili
    Editing
    Emelie Mahdavian
    Music
    Gretchen Jude
    Sales
    DOC & FILM INTERNATIONAL
    Production
    OLD CHILLY PICTURES

    Press

    Hassan Fazili's urgent documentary about his family's exodus from Afghanistan gives a human face to a global refugee crisis.

    Scott Tobias, Variety

    This is a portrait of systemic global failure towards the world’s most vulnerable.

    Carmen Gray, Modern Times Review

    Hassan Fazili

    Hassan Fazili

    Afghanistan

    Hassan Fazili has developed theater plays, documentaries, short films, and several popular television serials in Afghanistan. In 2011, he was selected by the British Council to attend Sheffield/DocFest for documentary filmmaking networking and training. His films MR. FAZILI'S WIFE (2011) and LIFE AGAIN! (2009) both push the envelope on issues of women's, children's and disability rights in Afghanistan, and have screened and won awards at numerous international festivals. He also worked as a Location Manager for Feo Aladag’s IN BETWEEN WORLDS, which premiered at Berlinale 2014, and as a Camera Operator for the IDFA selection VOICE OF A NATION: MY JOURNEY THROUGH AFGHANISTAN (2012). His documentary PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN (2015), made for national television, profiled Taliban commander Mullah Tur Jan, who laid down arms in favor of a peaceful civilian life. Mullah Tur Jan was murdered shortly after the documentary aired on Afghan television and Fazili had a bounty placed on his head. Fazili had to flee to Europe with his family: this experience is at the heart of his latest documentary MIDNIGHT TRAVELER (2019) which was showcased at Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale.