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  • A family wearing winter clothing, dusted with snow, smiles at the camera for a selfie.

MIDNIGHT TRAVELER

12:30   2:20   4:10   6:00   7:50   9:45

Wednesday, September 18 – Tuesday, October 1

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DIRECTED BY HASSAN FAZILI

PRODUCED, WRITTEN, AND EDITED BY EMELIE MAHDAVIAN

“A documentary that feels like a modern-day message in a bottle, an urgent appeal for help from a family that’s still searching for a home.” (Scott Tobias, Variety) In 2015 the Taliban in Afghanistan call for the death of Hassan Fazili, a filmmaker who, with his wife, runs Kabul’s Art Café, a progressive meeting place. The family (including two young daughters) begin a harrowing 3500-mile, 3-year “journey to the edge of Hell,” across Iran, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia – ultimately arriving in Hungary. Utilizing only mobile phone cameras, they document the vicissitudes of illegal border crossings and hunger and cold, as they are abetted by smugglers who may or may not be trustworthy and the casual violence of local thugs. The most basic 21st century technology is employed to tell an extraordinary story of ordinary, decent people caught between Taliban terror and the inhumanity of Kafkaesque Western bureaucracies.

Presented with support from the Richard Brick, Geri Ashur, and Sara Bershtel Fund for Social Justice Documentaries

USA / QATAR / UK / CANADA    2018    90 MINS.    IN ENGLISH AND PERSIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES    OSCILLOSCOPE LABORATORIES

Reviews

“Modest but full of urgency, MIDNIGHT TRAVELER uses the power of iPhones to reveal a migrant family’s search for a safe haven. Gretchen Jude’s percussive, electronic score helps hold it all together. [The film] stands as a family’s joint testimony, heartfelt and heartbreaking, particular yet hauntingly representative.”
– Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter

“Has a home-movie quality that’s enormously effective in putting a human face on a global crisis.”
– Scott Tobias, Variety

“What makes [the film] so moving, though, is the portrait that Fazili and Hussaini paint of both themselves as full, ungainly people, with flaws and hopes and perfections and their daughters who, in a way, are the stars [of the movie]. A languid, poetic film. [The parents] meditate on family, fear, equality, Islam, and the banality of everyday life. Throughout, though, it is hard not to forget that MIDNIGHT TRAVELER is a film of life or death which the score constantly reminds and which infuses tensions into the narrative’s nooks and crannies.”
– Gary Garrison, The Playlist