Benjamin Gilmour

Screen & Photography

Return to Kandahar

A feature film about a former soldier with PTSD who returns to Afghanistan hoping to atone for the killing of an unarmed civilian man during a raid

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A WAR FILM WITH A DIFFERENCE
As a writer and filmmaker I’ve been a guest in Afghanistan and shared tea with men my age who have only ever known a state of war. As a paramedic and aid worker I have treated the casualties of this conflict and others, including returned soldiers with physical and mental disabilities like PTSD. There’s no doubt in my mind that war is profoundly immoral and, in most cases, illogical and completely unnecessary.

Pacifist filmmakers and civilian victims of war are not the only ones who believe this. Even soldiers do, many soldiers who have been there and fought the enemy face to face. Our film Return to Kandahar is about one such soldier.

In Return to Kandahar, a soldier, tormented by the nightmares of war, flies back to Afghanistan as a tourist to track down the family of an unarmed civilian he killed in the throes of a raid on a remote village. He does this to beg forgiveness from the family and face the consequences of his actions.

Our story aims to humanise Afghans and Muslims in general, showing an alternative perspective on an ongoing conflict we struggle to make sense of. It also aims to demonstrate the mercy in Islam that is so commonly ignored by extemists and Islamophobes alike. Our central character Mick’s courage in going back without protection to the centre of his nightmare and discovering the source of healing is something I believe will promote understanding and empathy with Afghans and damaged war veterans alike, helping pave the way to peace.

THE FILMMAKERS
Ever since my first feature film Son of a Lion was selected for the Berlinale and screened in cinemas worldwide I’ve been eager to go back and work with locals in Afghanistan and Pakistan on another project. Finally, after several years of intense research and writing, I have a script. The film is inspired by dozens of true Afghan hostage stories dating back to the First Anglo-Afghan War in the mid-1800s. The story is also my answer to recent Hollywood ‘war porn’ like Seal Team Six and Lone Survivor. With this film I want to obliterate the ‘Islamic terrorist’ stereotype at the centre of modern war propaganda.

For our feature film Return to Kandahar we are pulling together a truly amazing team. Already we have attached an experienced Afghan crew and Pashtun producer Omar Ali Arbab, along with a celebrated LA-based cinematographer and one of Australia’s most respected film editors. Casting is currently underway on for the role of our central character, Mick. And our Afghan producers are scouting locations right now in one of the most spectacularly beautiful countries on earth.

Return to Kandahar is gearing up for pre-production and we are 100% committed to making this film, All we need is money to pay for the rest of our talent and we’re good to go.

We really hope you’ll be able to support us and help achieve this goal, we’re relying on your generosity.

Artist

Benjamin Gilmour

Location

NSW

Categories

Screen & Photography

Live Projects

0

Projects Funded

1

Projects Supported

1

I am a filmmaker and author.

My first feature film ‘Son of a Lion’ in 2008 was selected for the Berlinale and won the IF ‘Independent Spitit Award’. My follow-up, a documentary had its world premier at Busan in 2013.

Both my books ‘Warrior Poets’ (Allen&Unwin) and ‘Paramedico’ (HarperCollins) are bestsellers. I work from Sydney where I live with my wife Kaspia and our two young children.

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