Thhis past April I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. I composed original music for a documentary feature film which had a World Premier on April 26th at the Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary, Postcards From Tora Bora, by New York Directors Wazhmah Osman and Kelly Dolak and editing by Stephen Jablonsky, documents the life of Afghani born Osman. In 1979 the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Ms. Osman’s family was torn apart. Her father was imprisoned for over a year and eventually set free. On his insistence and for their protection, his wife and daughters were relocated to America while he remained in Afghanistan and joined the resistance against the Soviets.
In 2004 Osman and Dolak traveled to Kabul. Originally their idea was to document the current status of women in Afghanistan but soon the documentation became a journey into Osman’s former life in Kabul. Through the camera we see former family dwellings and places Osman had frequented as a child such as the Kabul Zoo, and catch only fragments of what previously existed. A significant element of this documentary is the compelling footage from the 70’s and 80’s of Osman’s family home videos and old photographs. These reveal to us what life would have been like in Kabul for an upper middle class family. Osman’s father,
Dr. Abdullah Osman, M.D. continues to live in Afghanistan and works as a doctor and philanthropist helping orphans and victims of war. He is the Director of Operations in Afghanistan for International Orphan Care http://www.orphanproject.org
Composing music for this documentary was an exciting and very creative experience. The Directors asked me to create “ ambient textured music” to enhance the mood of the film. I created audio and electronic recordings using acoustic instruments, voice and sampled sounds such as the Sitar, Tabla and Dulcimer. The original textured music combined with music from Afghanistan created a. unique blend of sound.
There were five screenings of Postcards from Tora Bora . The World Premier was held at LOWES AMC Theater on 34th street in Midtown Manhattan on April 26th at 10pm. The Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Festival, Peter Scarlet, introduced the film and the Directors to the audience. We had an excellent turnout for the opening. Osman’s entire family attended the premier including her father Dr Osman. After the film there was a Q & A with the Directors and short interviews with the press. The Directors hosted an after party which started at midnight and was held at the Bamiyan Restaurant, which features Afghan cuisine A perfect way to end a fabulous evening.
New York’s Tribeca Film Festival is a spectacular event focusing on new films by Independent filmmakers as well as films which include celebrity casts. The Tribeca Film Festival (Tribeca, Triangle Below Canal street) was created by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in 2002. Establishing a major film festival in lower Manhattan was created to revitalize the district of Tribeca after 9/11. “The mission of the film festival is “to enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience.”
There were so many excellent films and panel events to attend and I was able to get in a series of short films and an interesting panel discussion by female directors titled “ Brining Home the Bacon” This panel featured Eva Mendes, Mary Stuart Masterson, Julia Stiles, Rosario Dawson and Julie Delpy. These talented women shared their experiences as producers, directors and actors from the perspective of women working in a primarily male dominated field. This was a very insightful and auspicious discussion.
During the festival I met an array of interesting people. Directors, journalists, and press reporters for print and online publications. The Editor in Chief Brad Balfour from Timessquare.com, www.timessquare.com, and Sherry Eaker from Backstage.com www.backstage.com. Both of these reporters write for excellent publications and I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in the latest happenings in New York for film, theater, music and art. Networking at the festival’s various filmmaker and press parties has led to promising new contacts and I am looking forward to new collaborations.
While I was in New York I had some spectacular experiences with musician and art friends which I will write about in our next months publication.
Postcard from Tora Bora’s next stop on the film festival circuit is slated for The Toronto Film Festival in September.
For more information on composer Nan Avant, Postcards from Tora Bora, The Tribeca Film Festival and ineterviews with Peter Scarlet please follow the links below. A “Google” search on “Postcards from Tora Bora” will lead you to interviews, articles and video interviews with the film directors.
This article appeared in the June edition of ” No Strings Attached E-News” Please see Archives under ” Silver Screen” www.nostringsattachedenews.com