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The Orphanage

Afghanistan & Denmark |Fiction-Drama | 2019 |90 min| Dari, Russian, Hindi; English subtitles

Virtual IMFF 2020 Screening:

Sunday, May 3 2020   |   

Screening: 7.00pm - 9.15pm

Texas Premiere

Zoom Q&A with filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat

With Special Thanks to Our Community Partner:

In the late 1980s, a young man who daydreams of action-packed Bollywood heroics finds himself in an orphanage as the Soviets maintain control and the Mujahideen fight to take their land back.


In the late 1980s, 15-year-old Qodrat lives in the streets of Kabul and sells cinema tickets on the black market. He is a big Bollywood fan and he daydreams himself into some of his favorite movie scenes. One day the Police brings him to the Soviet orphanage. But in Kabul the political situation is changing. Qodrat and all the children want to defend their home.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE (Interview Excerpts)


The film is based on your friend Anwar’s memories. What elements in his story encouraged you to adapt them as a screenplay?


I found his story very honest, simple and rich at the same time. His story took me on a journey through the history of Afghanistan over the last forty years. From the innocent point of view of an orphan. He was a child stuck in a war that was not his war. It’s exactly how I feel today living in Afghanistan. 

Is your friend’s testimony an indirect way of questioning Afghanistan’s recent history? One can’t question the present if one doesn’t know the past. There are enough films about Afghanistan today and I swear the whole world knows there is a conflict there. What interests me is to dig into the past, to find out where all this mess actually started from.

You use a lot of cinematic “grammar” from Bollywood in the film. How did you come up with the idea of creating your own Bollywood sequences?

Well, Bollywood is a huge film industry in my part of the world and the friendship between Afghanistan and India has made it even stronger. Almost all Afghans can speak Urdu because they watch so many Indian movies. Perhaps the 1980’s were the golden time for that, because we had cinema theaters and there was peace at least in Kabul, the capital. In Afghanistan today, there are many “Z films” being produced one after another influenced by Bollywood movies. So the idea was not very far away from me. Also the fact that Anwar sold cinema tickets on the black market and was a big fan of Bollywood made this idea fit into the film.

Shahrbanoo Sadat
Director's Photo.jpg

Shahrbanoo Sadat is an Afghan, female writer and director, based in Kabul. She studied at Atelier Varan Kabul.


Her first feature film Wolf and Sheep was developed with the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence in 2010, Shahr - 20 years old at the time - the youngest ever selected. The film won the main award at Directors’ Fortnight 2016. Her second feature film The Orphanage is also after Wolf and Sheep the second part of a planned pentalogy, five films based on an unpublished autobiography. It was presented at Directors’ Fortnight in 2019. 

She is working on the third and fourth parts now. All the stories are inspired by Anwar’s piece. He tries to publish his diary and inside of her there is a wish growing to make a film not based and not inspired by Anwar's work. She plans to start ons omething new once she finishes this pentalogy.




Qodratollah Qadiri, Sediqa Rasuli, Masihullah Feraji, Hasibullah Rasooli, Ahmad Fayaz Osmani, Anwar Hashimi



Crew Director: Shahrbanoo Sadat

Inspired by Anwar Hashimi’s unpublished diary


Screenwriter: Shahrbanoo Sadat DOP: Virginie Surdej SBC Editor: Alexandra Strauss Sound Design: Sigrid DPA Jensen, Anne Gry Friis Kristensen Producer: Katja Adomeit

Production: Adomeit Film ApS Coproduction: Adomeit Film UG, La Fabrica Nocturna Cinéma, Samsa Film, Wolf Pictures Coproducers: Marina Perales Marhuenda, Xavier Rocher, Jani Thiltges, Shahrbanoo Sadat Associate Producers: Tine Mikkelsen, Jon Hammer World Sales: Luxbox French Distributor: Rouge Distribution Danish Distributor: Scanbox Entertainment Danmark A/S

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