The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opened late last year, is looking to be more than a place to view entertainment artifacts and exhibits, and diversified programming is a big part of its vision. The museum’s “Weekend With…” film series for example, offers visitors an enlightening look into the life and career of filmmakers, actors and creators who are important voices in entertainment, even if they aren’t household names.
As series creator Kiva Reardon explains, the idea behind the Sat-Sun. event is specifically “to offer audiences the chance to dive completely into a body of work of an artist that might be harder to find, or is under-recognized.”
This weekend’s event spotlights filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat. Born in Iran, after her parents fled Afghanistan, Sadat’s Wolf and Sheep, based on the unpublished diaries of Anwar Hashimi, won the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs prize at Cannes in 2016. After studying film in Kabul, she became the youngest person to ever be selected for Cannes Cinéfondation residency in Paris at 20 years old.
Her first film, Not At Home, a hybrid documentary inspired by a close friend’s experience leaving the country, also reflects the struggles of life in Afghanistan, as does her third film, The Orphanage, a Bollywood-inspired sequel to Wolf.
Her accomplishments are great, especially considering the conflicts and unrest she’s had to work and live through. She escaped from Afghanistan just before the Taliban took over following American withdrawal last year.
“My cinema so far has a focus on everyday life of ordinary people. I believe their voice is not enough heard,” Sadat shares with LA Weekly by email. “In movies on Afghanistan, either they are hero or victim. There is not anything in between. I myself come from working class. My father has been a worker for his entire life. I lived in Afghanistan in the last 20 years, but I never felt connected to elite circle in Kabul, or even to the newly shaped middle class. Which now disappeared one more time since August 2021. By watching three of my films, one can feel my closeness to people. And of course the progress in my works that belonged to years 2013-2019.”
“Shahrbanoo Sadat is one of the most intriguing voices in cinema,” adds Reardon.”This series, taking place at a crucial point in her career, is moment to look back at her past films with the aim of feeling invigorated about her forthcoming work.”
Weekend With… Shahrbanoo Sadat at the Academy Museum, 6067 Wilshire Blvd. Sat., Jan. 29-Sun., Jan. 30. More info here.