A new one hour film, Pictures from Afghanistan, directed by filmmaker Robbie Fraser and funded by BBC Scotland and Creative Scotland, tells the story of war photographer and journalist David Pratt relationship with the country and its people.
• The film will premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival on Sunday March 1 at 1.15PM. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with David Pratt chaired by former BBC foreign correspondent and chair of the Edinburgh Book Festival, Allan Little. Tickets here.
They say: ‘David has spent much of the last four decades reporting on some of the world’s worst conflicts. But there’s one place which has meant the most to him: Afghanistan. Travelling there first in the early 80s as a recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art he was smuggled over the border from Pakistan and spent months with the Mujahideen during their war against the Soviet Red Army.’
‘The team travelled to Kabul in June 2019 and followed David as he visited some old haunts: the Russian Cultural Centre, now run by former Soviet intelligence officer Vyacheslav Nekrasov who, if he had met David in the 1980s would almost certainly have had him arrested as a spy. Kabul Zoo, which during the Civil War period of the 1990s was a frontline where the animals went mad from the shelling, but which is now a haven of peace.’
David: “I’ve covered conflicts in Iraq, Syria and the fight against Islamic State. I’ve been on the sharp end in Libya, Congo, Haiti, Central America, Somalia… You name it!
“But there is one place that means the most to me. I cut my teeth here as a reporter in the 1980s, I saw the horror of civil war in the 90s and the Taliban rising out of the ashes. And I came here after 9/11 when the Americans came here looking for revenge…
“This is a dangerous place, always has been. But I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life here.”
Robbie Fraser told PAN: “Visiting Afghanistan was a privilege especially with David, who knows the country so well. There is a constant atmosphere of threat, and the history of the place is bloody and tangled. But it is vital that we remember what has happened there, and pay some attention to what is happening there now. We cannot let these conflicts become a blur.”