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FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

FIXER: THE TAKING OF AJMAL NAQSHBANDI

TFF 2009 Directed by Ian Olds
FILM GUIDE ARCHIVE FIXER: THE TAKING OF AJMAL NAQSHBANDI [TFF 2009]

Twenty-four-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi is a "fixer," someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate the gathering of news stories. In 2007 he was captured with an Italian journalist by the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the aid of his government and high levels of publicity, the Italian was spared, but the Afghan wan't so lucky. After the dust of his murder settles, Ajmal's friends, family, and his fellow abductee try to make sense of the harsh fate that befell him.

This emotionally mesmerizing documentary takes an intensely personal journey into the dangerous and unseen world of wartime news gathering, where nationality can determine the value of a life. A Westerner's abduction will make headlines around the world, but director Ian Olds' (Occupation: Dreamland) examines what happens for those who don't make the international headlines—in this case an Afghan. He achieves a weighty tension by mingling two storylines. Six months before his abduction, Ajmal amiably shepherds American journalist Christian Parenti from one dangerous interview with machine-gun-toting militants to the next. The chronicles of this assignment are interrupted by brutal, Taliban-shot images from the squall that was to come—Ajmal and journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, mistaken for spies, bound and battered, captives at the mercy of a rogue army.

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Twenty-four-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi is a "fixer," someone hired by foreign journalists to facilitate the gathering of news stories. In 2007 he was captured with an Italian journalist by the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the aid of his government and high levels of publicity, the Italian was spared, but the Afghan wan't so lucky. After the dust of his murder settles, Ajmal's friends, family, and his fellow abductee try to make sense of the harsh fate that befell him.

This emotionally mesmerizing documentary takes an intensely personal journey into the dangerous and unseen world of wartime news gathering, where nationality can determine the value of a life. A Westerner's abduction will make headlines around the world, but director Ian Olds' (Occupation: Dreamland) examines what happens for those who don't make the international headlines—in this case an Afghan. He achieves a weighty tension by mingling two storylines. Six months before his abduction, Ajmal amiably shepherds American journalist Christian Parenti from one dangerous interview with machine-gun-toting militants to the next. The chronicles of this assignment are interrupted by brutal, Taliban-shot images from the squall that was to come—Ajmal and journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, mistaken for spies, bound and battered, captives at the mercy of a rogue army.

Film Information
Year: 2008
Length: 84 minutes
Language: English, Dari, Pashto, Italian
Country: USA
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits
Director: Ian Olds
Director of Photography: Ian Olds
Producers: Nancy Roth, Ian Olds
Editor: Ian Olds
Field Producer: Christian Parenti
Sound Design: Jim Dawson
Co-Producer: Gabe Maxson
Contacts

Print Source
Nancy Roth
G Films
275 East 10th Street, #5 New York, NY 10009
nanceelou@gmail.com

Print Source
Nancy Roth
G Films
275 East 10th Street, #5 New York, NY 10009
nanceelou@gmail.com

Special Note

Winner: Best New Documentary Filmmaker.
As a result, this film will screen two additional times on
Sunday, May 3: 1:15 pm and 7:15 pm.
For tickets, click here.
 

Sunday, April 26, 1:00 pm
@SVA Theater (333 West 23rd Street), Theater 2

After the Movie: Director Ian Olds; author and The Nation reporter Christian Parenti; New Yorker staff writer and author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, George Packer; and former Afghan fixer Naqeeb Sherzad will further discuss the dangers encountered by both journalists in war zones and the native populations that help them get the stories to the world. Moderated by Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists.

About the Director(s)

Ian Olds is a director of both narrative and documentary work. He photographed and directed the documentary Occupation: Dreamland, an in-depth portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja. The film was short-listed for an Academy Award® and won a 2006 Independent Spirit Award for emerging documentary directors. Olds is also the editor and cowriter of Cul de Sac: A Suburban War Story, and his short fiction films have played at numerous festivals in the US and abroad. Ian is a Princess Grace Award recipient and earned his MFA in film from Columbia University in 2006.

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