Some people criticise that the Afghan Film archive has been moved to the presidential palace, emphasising that your father, Ashraf Ghani, also happens to be Afghanistan's current president. Why there?

Ghani: Afghan Film lost its building and as a temporary solution the archive has been moved to the National Archive Building, which is a new building that has just been constructed. Actually, it is the only building in Kabul that has proper archive conditions. It has climate-controlled rooms and vacuum-sealed cabinets and it is very secure. It offers the perfect conditions for storing such material. Unfortunately this building is within the presidential palace compound, which means the films are physically very inaccessible. Officially, however, anyone can apply for access to the archive.

It is said that the film archive is going to be digitised. When will this happen?

Ghani: The good thing is that the National Archive wants to make this happen as soon as possible. Everything will be digitised, which will be of benefit to Afghan films too. When it comes to sharing the films with the public, I think that this is the ultimate solution. As many copies as possible should be made of the material, stored in different locations.

Do you think that the films will be in danger if another government takes over in Kabul?

Ghani: I think it is possible. That is also one of the reasons why the digitalisation needs to be done quickly. Personally, I also want to see these films online, but not everyone agrees with that. Some people believe that it would reduce the value of the films if they were to be accessible on such a large scale. But I think if you want to preserve these films, people have to know them. It is important to share the films with the Afghan public, especially because a real reconciliation process never took place after the 1980s and the collapse of Communism. I think it would be a good idea to use the films to initiate something like that. Similar things happened in other countries like South Africa too. We can use films to start a process of story-telling and remembering.

Interview conducted by Emran Feroz

© 2019

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