Singapore-based Pakistani filmmaker Shehzad Hameed Ahmad’s has won two Silver awards at the prestigious World Media Festival 2020 at Hamburg, Germany for his documentary series on Afghanistan.
The documentary has also won two awards at the recently held New York Festival 2020. His documentaries on the war in Afghanistan, Caught in the Crossfire and The Battle for Kabul won the awards in the Global Issues and Political documentaries category, respectively.
Shehzad along with his crew spent 15 days in Afghanistan, travelling to Bagram Airbase, Ghazni, and surrounding areas of Kabul to film the two-hour long documentary. On the first day of his filming, a suicide bomber belonging to the militant Islamic State group blew himself up inside a gym full of young Afghans in the Dasht-i-Barchi Shia neighbourhood. Mr Ahmad and his crew reached the emergency hospital to film, only to find out there was a second bomb blast that resulted in the death of Samim Faramarz, a local Afghan reporter standing on the blast site. These nerve-racking moments were filmed and became the opening scene of the series.
His first award is for the film Caught in the Crossfire for which he gained unprecedented access to the Kabul Military Training Centre where Afghan and US forces train against guerrilla warfare. The second silver award is for The Battle for Kabul. In this film the director and producer obtained rare access into Taliban Badlands near Ghazni to understand why the Taliban are gaining control of more territory 18 years since America invaded the country.