Following the success of her debut album Lion of Panjshir, Ariana Delawari's first full-length documentary We Came Home will make its U.S. Premiere at the American Film Institute's AFI FEST, at 7:30 p.m. November 6 at the Egyptian Theater. Delawari joins AFI's Special Election Night Panel with a musical performance following screening. Says David Lynch, "Ariana Delawari's We Came Home is a beautiful journey of the Heart." More info/reserve free tickets.
Says Tom Freston, CEO/Co-Founder Vice Media, Former CEO of Viacom, "We Came Home is a touching story of exile from Afghanistan's ‘Golden Age' and a reconnection by a family to a much changed land after decades of war. The innate desire to return home overcomes many an obstacle and risk."
Following the screening, Delawari will take part in a special AFI-sponsored Election Night panel discussion on "Politics and the Power of Music and Film." Other guest panelists include producer Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Mariam Atash Naiwabi, founder of the Afghanistan Advocacy Group and member of the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce. After the panel, Delawari will perform during an AFI Fest after-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's courtyard, 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Levantine Cultural Center's New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema is a community partner. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a sponsor. Visit http://levantinecenter.org/.
We Came Home tells the heartfelt account of lively and vivacious Ariana Delawari in her decade long documentation of post 9/11 Afghanistan. Delawari has seamlessly woven together a story that spans generations and nations—a story of family, immigration and the universal power of music. As an Afghan American, Delawari travels to her ancestral homeland to record her first album, Lion of Panjshir, which was later mixed by filmmaker David Lynch and released on his David Lynch MC record label to critical success in 2009. The film is directed by Ariana Delawari and produced by Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Emily Lynch, with associate producers Rachel Fleischer and Sara Vessal. Total running time is 83 minutes.
More About the Filmmaker
Ariana Delawari was born in Los Angeles the year the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Delawari's early 1980s suburban home was filled with Afghan refugees and her childhood memories of Madonna were juxtaposed with Afghan music and her father's fierce fight for peace in his homeland. Ariana grew up watching her father's efforts, painfully aware that nobody seemed to care and questioning her father's commitment to a land most people cannot find on a map. September 11, 2001, changed the course of her family's lives. Delawari's parents sell everything and move to Kabul to help reconstruct the country, and she takes her first trip to Kabul. She spends the next 10 years between LA and Kabul, documenting her father's homeland through photographs, film and music.
During the years she spent filming, Delawari witnessed the Taliban resurgence and took her band mates Max Guirand and Paloma Udovic Ramos to Kabul to record an album with traditional Afghan ustads, or master musicians, creating a collection of songs that reflect both sides of Delawari's upbringing and reflect her youthful passion for peace and acceptance. The recording of the album reveals the challenges of building anything in the war-ravaged country.
Ariana experienced firsthand the threat of war and corruption when her father was arrested (and later released as a "misunderstanding") by the Afghan government. Through this, she unexpectedly realized why her father would never abandon his people. She now understands why Afghanistan cannot be forgotten.
"We Came Home is a story about immigration, which speaks to so many people. It's really special in that way. It's a way for me to reach people on both sides of my heritage," Delawari said. "I just want to organically bridge these worlds, to bring understanding. I feel the hunger from both sides for information and reconciliation."
The documentary made its World Premiere in October at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival. Early that month, Delawari participated and performed in the inaugural TEDx event and the Sound Central rock festival, both of which were held in Kabul.