The tenth anniversaries of 9/11 and the October 7 US-led invasion of Afghanistan are upon us. As Americans reflect on the impact of these events on our lives, the grassroots film series “The Fruit of Our Labor” reflects on the situation from an Afghan perspective. Seven of the ten films focus on women and women's issues; four of which were filmed and produced by Afghan women. Their cameras eavesdrop on the saucy banter of women as they tend to everyday tasks such as baking bread and planting seedlings, and on their consoling but firm words as they counsel each other in the aftermath of traumatic war injuries. One video short documents a woman's search for her lost husband – one of the nation's one million addicted to heroin – while a pregnant woman navigates the options for health care and birth control – without a functioning maternity clinic nearby. “The Fruit of Our Labor” details Afghans' inexorable struggle to survive.
“The Road Above,” direction and camera by Aqeela Rezai, editing by Jawed Taiman.
A look at the effects of poppy production in Afghanistan – from an Afghan perspective. Over one million Afghans are addicted to heroin.
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“Knocking on Time's Door,” direction and camera by Ahmad Wahid Zaman, editing by Hamed Alizada.
A Mujahideen fighter puts down his gun to teach and to try to lead his village in the building of a new school.
“Death to the camera,” direction and camera by Sayed Qasem Hossaini, editing by Hamed Alizada.
Women joke and fight on a cash-for-work site – accusing each other of being prostitutes, liars and racists. Does the film reveal the depth of pain and trouble facing Afghans, or do these women know how to play to the camera and the aid industry?
“Bearing the Weight,” direction and camera by Mona Haidari, editing by Hamid Arshia.
Afghans have no choice but to be resilient: A look at the challenges and successes of one of Afghanistan's 700,000 people left disabled by violence.
“Treasure Trove,” by Fakhria Ibrahimi.
Eavesdrop on the saucy banter of women as they tend to the everyday backbreaking work of baking bread.
“Beyond Fatigue,” by Baqir Tawakoli.
Nowhere more so than in Afghanistan are women stretched to the limit of their physical and mental abilities.
“Water Ways,” by Majeed Zarand.
Most Afghans are more worried about access to water than they are about being attacked by insurgents. In a country that is 85 percent agrarian, Afghan villagers and the government – in partnership with international aid organizations – are trying to deal with the incongruous mix of droughts and flash floods that terrorize large parts of the country.
“Hands of Health,” by Zahra Sadat.
A pregnant woman navigates the options for health care and birth control – without a functioning maternity clinic nearby.
“Searching for a Path,” by Reza Sahel.
An intimate portrait of a pushcart vendor and the struggle for Afghans to cope with 40 pecent unemployment.
“L is for Light and D is for Darkness,” by Hasibullah Asmati.
After the Taliban, Waseema takes things into her own hands to start a girls' school. She organizes village women, pressures resistant men and sets up “classrooms” in an abandoned, roofless building on the outskirts of the village.