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View From A Grain of Sand

[82/58 mins, 2006/2008]

Written & Directed by Meena Nanji
Produced by Meena Nanji & Amie Williams
Camera: Ann Kaneko, Denise Brassard
Editing: William Haugse A.S.E, Tchavdar Georgiev
Music: Andrew Hagen

SYNOPSIS VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND tells of the history of women’s rights in Afghanistan from 1980-2005, through the eyes of three Afghan women: a doctor, a teacher, and a rights activist. Illustrated with vérité footage, interviews and archival material, their personal stories lead us through the minefield of Afghanistan’s complex history, and provide illuminating context for Afghanistan’s current situation and the ongoing battle women face, even now, to gain basic human rights.
Shot over a four-year period in the sprawling refugee camps of north-western Pakistan and in the war-torn city of Kabul, the documentary constructs a harrowing, thought-provoking, yet intimate portrait of the plight of Afghan women over the last 30 years—from the rule of King Zahir Shah to the current Hamid Karzai government. The women are powerfully moving as they re-define strength and resilience in the face of on-going struggle, and give a full and visceral picture of a still divided and brutalized nation. As world attention has shifted to other crises, this project re-focuses the camera on Afghanistan, remembering the voices of those most vulnerable and most affected by the conflicts: women.

Best Documentary Feature, Audience Award, Seattle South Asian Festival 2007
Silver Conch
, International Documentary Feature: Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary 2008
Best Documentary, Canada International Film Festival 2007
NOMINATIONS Grand Jury Award, Documentary, Los Angeles International Asian American Film Festival, 2007 Social Justice Award,  Santa Barbara International Film Festival, 2007 Best Documentary Long List,  International Documentary Association, Los Angeles, 2006 Best Documentary Feature, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival,  2006

“As if a resurgent Taliban and an Afghan government in disarray weren't worrisome enough, Meena Nanji's study of the state of women in Afghanistan, "View From a Grain of Sand," adds another problem that deserves genuine concern……..A remarkable treasure trove….”  
                  -Robert Koehler, Variety
“searing, wide-reaching……. an especially timely addition to the collective history of the plight of women under repression”.  
                   - Robert Abeles, Los Angeles Times
“gripping…. Nanji narrates this history with clarity and passion….an insightful, often heart-wrenching account of trauma, war and rights abuses…”
                      - Holly Willis, Los Angeles Weekly

“..vibrant cinematography…. we get a glimpse of the complicated, beautiful and tragic patchwork that is Afghanistan.”
                        - Ginanne Brownell, Frontline Journalist’s Club, London, Film critic for Newsweek
“one of those very rare films that approaches the issue of Afghanistan, Afghan women's rights, and US policy with a decent level of sensitivity, political maturity, and sophistication…”
                                            -Sonali Kolhatkar, KPFK RADIO, Los Angeles, Co-Author: Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords and the Propaganda of Silence
“Sharp, simple reminders of major political facts are woven into a stunning cinematic fabric in Meena Nanji’s brilliant documentary…”
      - Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, The Hindu, India

“…a fascinating portrait of resilience…”

Meena Nanji’s documentary is a history lesson you won’t forget in a hurry.”
                   -Timeout Mumbai
“a work of love and passion for a Afghanistan and the Afghan people…”
        -Adam Shapiro, former Country Director, Global Rights, Afghanistan.

International Documentary Magazine [IDA]; Documenting in the Face of Danger
The Middle East Magazine
Ismaili Magazine
NIRALI, online magazine

India West
Digital Talkies,
Indian Express

Ismaili Magazine Interview
RADIO interviews
BBC World Radio's Outlook program
WBAI New York, NY

KPOO San Francisco, CA 

KAAA/KZZZ, Arizona 

KPFA Berkeley, CA 

KPFK, Los Angeles, CA

KPFT Houston, TX 

Featured on NBC'S "Extra"
ARTICLES by Meena Nanji Afghan Women Remain Stifled Op-Ed, L.A Times, December 27, 2003 US Misled by Faulty Intelligence Even on Afghanistan, United Nations Journal, Feb 24, 2004 Afghanistan's Women after 'Liberation' - Feb 2003 6-part series on Afghanistan’s Recent History in, India (part 1), 2003 Thoughts On Afghanistan in 5 Parts, Sarai Reader 04/Crisis Media February 2004, New Delhi, India ISBN 81-901429-4-1 Repression and RAWA, The Digital Talkies Magazine (India), Vol.1 (6), January 1, 2001
;Green Left Weekly (Australia), Issue #433, January 24, 2001

NDTV, “24x24” India

RedCat Theater, Los Angeles, USA; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Cinema Verite, Iran International Film Festival; Dochouse and Frontline Club Screenings, Ritzy Cinema, London, UK; Mumbai International Film Festival, India; Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival, Greece; Ljubljiana Int’l Film Festival, Slovenia; Women’s International Film Festival,
Seoul, Korea; We the People Film Festival, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK; CAAM Festival, San Francisco; Seattle South Asian Film Festival, Seattle, WA, USA; VC Film Fest, Los Angeles, USA; Arab & Arab-American Film Festival, Third I, New York, USA; IFP Market, New York, USA; Kathmandu International Film Festival, Nepal; Third I South Asian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA, USA; KARA Film Festival, Pakistan;  Women in the Director’s Chair, Chicago;  International Women’s Film Festival, Vancouver; New Visions, Scotland; AVE Festival, Holland; EarthPeace Festival; Court Metrage Festival, Belgium;  MIT; Harvard University; UC Santa Barbara; UCLA

Educational Licensing: 
New Day Films
JourneyMan Pictures [UK]
Home Licensing
Documentary: 82 mins 2006; 58 minutes, 2008
In Dari/Pashto with English subtitles Original formats: miniDV, 16mm, VHS, Beta, ¾” video Exhibition format: Digibeta NTSC, DVCAM NTSC, Beta SP NTSC, Beta PAL, DVD Copyright Twende Pictures 2020