Kartemquin Joins SAVING MES AYNAK
July 2, 2014 by Katie Prentiss
BUDDHAS GET LOCAL BOOST Kartemquin Films has announced a new production with Chicago-based filmmaker Brent Huffman. SAVING MES AYNAK is a documentary film currently in production about the race to save a 2,000-year-old Buddhist archaeological site in Afghanistan threatened by a Chinese copper mine. Loading Doc featured Huffman when he first received his MacArthur Foundation grant. The film is expected to be finished by the end of this year.
Director/producer Brent Huffman, a documentary maker and film professor at Northwestern University, has been independently shooting at the Mes Aynak site in Afghanistan since 2011.
“As the premiere destination for complex social issue films that intend on making a global impact, Kartemquin is the dream home for Saving Mes Aynak,” said Huffman.
SAVING MES AYNAK was one of just 18 documentaries to receive grant funding from the John T. and Catherine D. MacArthur Foundation this year. Other funding has come from smaller grants and a successful Kickstarter campaign.
“We are delighted to bring Brent and his film to Kartemquin,” said Justine Nagan, Kartemquin’s Executive Director. “Its memorable characters and unique narrative has enormous potential to raise awareness around this important issue. Brent has already built a massive online community around Saving Mes Aynak; we aim to help him deliver a film that will galvanize action and bring attention to this unusual problem in war-torn Afghanistan.”
Zak Piper (The Interrupters, Life Itself) has joined the project as Consulting Producer, and Kartemquin staffer Matt Lauterbach has signed on as Post-Production Supervisor. Julia Reichert (The Lion in the House), Gordon Quinn (Kartemquin Founder & Artistic Director) and Justine Nagan also serve as executive producers.
To mark the collaboration, Huffman and Kartemquin have launched a new website: www.savingmesaynak.com, which features photos of the many relics discovered while filming, as well as links to numerous articles about the fight to save the site from destruction, including a New York Times Op-Doc he produced on Mes Aynak in 2013.
The film will be a co-production of Kartemquin Films and German Camera Productions, Huffman’s production company.
Katie Prentiss is a journalist and documentary filmmaker in Chicago working with Kartemquin Films as the Associate Producer of Mormon Movie (Working Title). Follow Katie at @prentkat