Film Screening: Buddhas of Mes Aynak
Aynak, a desert region 20 minutes southwest of Kabul, is an archaeological treasure trove of ancient Buddhist artifacts dated at over 2,500 years old. An ancient Buddhist monastery complex, extensive wall frescos, devotional temples known as stupas, and more than 150 Buddha statues comprise a discovery of immense global importance and one of the country's richest historical sites. But it is also a site with a violent and troubled history. At the same time, Aynak is home to the largest undeveloped copper reserve in the world. Following two years of aggressive bidding, China Metallurgical Group Corporation, a Chinese government-backed mining company, beat out all international competitors and was awarded an exclusive contract in 2008 by the cash-strapped Afghanistan government to exploit the site. The fate of the ancient Buddhist artifacts hangs in the balance as the Chinese begin planning their destructive open-pit style copper mine. Under immense international pressure, the Chinese company gave Afghan and French archaeologists three years to excavate and move the artifacts before the copper mine gets underway. But with extremely limited resources, the dedicated archaeologists have made little progress. Archaeologists from around the world fight to save a 5,000-year-old city, called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Asia, from imminent destruction by a Chinese mining company in volatile Logar province, Afghanistan.
Please join us for a screening of the documentary ‘Buddhas of Aynak’ along with a discussion session with film maker Brent E. Huffman, an award-winning director, writer, and cinematographer of documentaries and television programs. His work ranges from documentaries aired on The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel, NBC, CNN, PBS and Al Jazeera, to Sundance Film Festival premieres, to films made for the China Exploration and Research Society. He has also directed, produced, shot and edited short documentaries for online outlets like TIME, Salon, Huffington Post and PBS Arts.