Brent E. Huffman, Associate Professor, Northwestern University
Sanjyot Mehendale, Near Eastern Studies
The 2015 documentary Saving Mes Aynak follows Afghan archaeologist Qadir Temori as he tries to save a 5,000-yearold site in Afghanistan from imminent demolition by a Chinese state-owned mining company that is eager to harvest $100 billion worth of copper buried directly beneath the archaeological ruins. The Chinese project directly threatens future discoveries that, according to some, could help redefine not only the history of Afghanistan but even the history of Buddhism itself. The documentary highlights Qadir Temori and his fellow Afghan archaeologists overwhelmingly difficult battle against the Chinese company, the Taliban, and local political groups to save this cultural heritage from likely erasure.
Following the screening, there will be a conversation with Brent E. Huffman to discuss the aftermath of the documentary and the current state of the site.
Brent E. Huffman is an award-winning director, producer and cinematographer of documentaries and television programs. His work ranges from documentaries aired on The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel, NBC, CNN, PBS and Al Jazeera, to Sundance Film Festival premieres, to ethnographic films made for the China Exploration and Research Society. He has also directed, produced, shot, and edited short documentaries for online outlets like The New York Times, TIME, Salon, Huffington Post and PBS Arts.
Huffman has been making social issue documentaries and environmental films for more than a decade in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These films have gone on to win numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy, Best Conservation Film-Jackson Hole, Best Documentary-Fresno, three Cine Golden Eagle Awards, a College Emmy, a Student Academy Award, and a Grand Jury Award at AFIs SILVERDOCS.
Brent Huffman is also an associate professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where he teaches documentary production and theory.