Status / News

 

News on our film and developments in the Kohistan Video Case.

View our Calendar of events and screenings here.

20 March 2019: Unveiled: The Kohistan Video Scandal is finally available IN CANADA!!

Rent or buy it on Vimeo On Demand.

All proceeds from the Canadian rental and sale of the video will be donated to the family of Muhammad Afzal Kohistani, one of the leads in our film.

On 6 March, 2019, Afzal was murdered in Abbottabad, Pakistan. His death is believed to be linked to his activism in the Kohistan video case. We were shocked to have learnt of the death of this brave human rights activist who chose law and order over violence and revenge. He leaves behind 40 family members who had depended on him, some of whose lives are still in danger because of the Kohistan Video.

Read the Washington Post story: A Pakistani man told me he feared he’d be killed for exposing ‘honor killings.’ His worst fear just came true.

Outside of Canada our film can be seen on:

Kanopy
Amazon
Vimeo on Demand

7 March 2019:

We have just learnt of the terrible news that our dear friend, courageous human rights activist and one of the leads of our documentary, Muhammad Afzal Kohistani, was shot dead in Abbottabad on Wednesday, 6 March.

Our hearts are heavy for Afzal's family, who have already suffered much over the past seven years

Afzal was the brother of the boys in a video which went viral in their village in the Kohistan region of Pakistan in 2012. The amateur mobile phone video, referred to as the Kohistan Video, featured four girls singing and clapping to a local folk song with the two boys.

Afzal raised the alarm that the jirga had ordered the death of the girls, going to the police and the courts in an attempt to prevent the massacre. The girls were in fact murdered, as were three of Afzal's brothers who were not in the film. The brothers who were in the film, continue to live in hiding.

Afzal's efforts over many years to bring justice to the case made him a thorn in the side of those implicated in the murders. He continued his advocacy despite constant death threats forcing him and his family to live in hiding. Last year he was released from prison after 13 months for a crime he did not commit, the result of charges laid by his enemies in Kohistan.

Determined to seek remedies through constitutional law rather than fall into the revenge cycle perpetuated by the traditional jirga system, Afzal used every legal resource  available to seek justice in the Kohistan Video case. His efforts highlighted corruption and incompetence in Pakistan's legal system, but it also led him to create alliances with other courageous human rights activists, such as journalist  Haseeb Khawaja  and Dr. Farzana Bari.

In the end they did find some justice when suspects finally confessed in December 2018 to killing some of the girls.

Through his activism and collaborations, Afzal was discovering his political voice, and was on a path that would surely have had him become an influential politician in his country. His family and nation can be proud of his legacy.

The loss of our dear friend is great. Our concerns are of course raised for our other  friends in Pakistan who continue the struggle for justice in this and other human rights cases in their country.

May you rest in peace Afzal.

11 April 2017:

 

7 April 2017: Update on case in Pakistan newspaper, Dawn: SC asks Nadra to verify Kohistan girls’ identity

 

17 December 2016:
The Washington Post publishes an article on the Kohistan Video Case detailing the history and latest news on the case: In Pakistan, five girls were killed for having fun. Then the story took an even darker twist.

 

10 December 2016:

 

WORLD PREMIERE OF OUR FEATURE DOCUMENTARY!
We are happy to announce that Unveiled: The Kohistan Video Scandal will premiere on Human Rights Day at JAYU's Human Rights Film Festival at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema in Toronto.

Thanks to Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary for supporting the Human Rights Film Festival and co-presenting our documentary.

1 December 2016 "ISLAMABAD: In a damning report submitted to the Supreme Court on Thursday [1 December], a commission headed by the district and sessions judge for Kohistan, Shoaib Khan, expressed fears that the five girls involved in a 2010 video scandal might not be alive." Fingerprint evidence seems to indicate that the girls presented to the latest commission were not in fact the girls in the video. Dawn.com.

 

November 2016 After years of activism by Haseeb, Afzal and Dr. Farzana Bari, the Kohistan Video case has been re-opened! Dr. Bari gave a witness statement, and the Supreme Court ordered a Kohistan sessions judge to submit an inquiry report on the case by the end of November.

There has been a great response to the packed media screening of our film, hosted by Haseeb, at the National Press Club in Islamabad in October. Thanks to Haseeb's efforts, we are looking forward to more community outreach screenings throughout the country. The next will be at the opening of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, organized by the Pakistan NGO Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Alliance, on 30 November in Islamabad. We are very proud that our film has been included in this important and inspirational campaign.

 

27 October 2016: We are proud to announce an invitation only media screening of our feature documentary at the National Press Club in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Thank you Haseeb Khawaja for organising this event. Q&A after the screening with Dr. Farzana Bari, Afzal Kohistani and Haseeb.

 

September 2016:

The Kohistan Video Case is in the spotlight again. The case has been re-opened in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. For more details see GeoTV report.

 

Television version (52 mins) completed!

 

July 2016:

Feature version (87 mins) completed!

 

June 2016:

We are excited to announce that we have signed on with Java Films, one of Europe’s leading independent distributors specializing in documentaries and current affairs!

 

Based in Paris, JAVA also has offices in Barcelona and London. Their documentaries have been selected for prestigious festivals such as IDFA, Sundance, Tribeca, HotDocs and Thessaloniki; won awards like the Prix Albert Londres Award, the Sony Impact Award and the Jury Special Prize (FIPA); include international Emmy winners; and have been nominated for prestigious prizes like the Goyas.
 

‘Unveiled: The Kohistan Video Scandal’ is both a moving story and takes a sensitive, multi-layered approach to cultural conflict and honour killings in Pakistan. We’re delighted to be working with Elizabeth and Brishkay on it and look forward to bringing it to a wider audience.'
 

Kathryn Bonnici
Head of Acquisitions & Development
JAVA Films

 

December 2015:

World Policy Institute’s blog features Brishkay and her film Story of Burqa: Case of a Confused Afghan.

 

Of Note Magazine features Brishkay and her filmStory of Burqa: Case of a Confused Afghan. Congratulations Brishkay! So proud of you.

 

 

 

Upcoming Screenings

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The Kohistan Video Scandal • Digital Warriors Production Inc. • 2016