Films

Jirga

Three years after an Australian army helicopter raid on a small village led to the killing of an unarmed man, former Australian soldier Mike (Sam Smith) returns to Afghanistan to find the victim’s family. Doggedly, he sets off on a perilous journey over a terrain where both the Taliban and ISIS are active. Mike is determined to make amends and so puts his life in the hands of the Jirga – the village justice system. The risky trek has remarkable parallels with the making of the film. With an earlier version of the screenplay in hand, director Benjamin Gilmour and actor Sam Smith headed to Pakistan to shoot a film on the border with Afghanistan. When the script was deemed too politically sensitive, the promised funding disappeared and along with it the possibility to make the film. Gilmour says: “Returning to Australia to make alternative plans would’ve been the sensible conclusion to our adventure. Instead, we went with Plan B and decided to shoot the whole film ourselves in Afghanistan.” With a camera bought at a Pakistani shopping mall, Gilmour shot the hastily rewritten film himself, while frequently in danger of kidnapping or worse. The result is a sensitive and compassionate tale on the impact of war and the cost of redemption.

Jirga is currently screening at film festivals before a planned cinema release. www.jirgafilm.com

Rich and contemplative.

The Guardian

 

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Paramedico

Paramédico is a film about ambulance workers in four very different parts of the world, unmasking the ‘heroes’ to the realm of crisis. This rare and candid look at the secret lives of paramedics features some of the characters in Paramedico – the book, including Mohammed Azam in Pakistan, Mitzi Rodriguez in Mexico, Manuela Sylvestri in Venice and Tippy Lee in Hawaii.

Raw, invigorating and joyous.
Variety

Pulsates with adrenalin and indisputable authenticity.
Sydney Morning Herald

A startling exercise in contrasts.

Eliza Metcalf

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Son of a Lion

In the tribal areas of Pakistan lies a town where the local industry is the handcrafting of firearms. It has been this way for more than a hundred years. Eleven-year-old Niaz Afridi works with his father Sher Alam, learning how to make and test weapons. Sher Alam expects his only son to follow the tradition, but Niaz has different ideas.

 

Son of a Lion packs emotional punch.
Richard Kuipers, Variety

Gilmour’s empathy with his collaborators makes you feel at home.
Sandra Hall, SMH

Narratively strong, character rich.

Margaret Pomeranz

An extraordinary film.

David Stratton