IMG_8532_low res.jpg © Pieter-Jan De Pue
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A gang of Afghan kids from the Kuchi tribe dig out old Soviet mines and sell the explosives to children working in a lapis lazuli mine. When not dreaming of the time when American troops finally withdraw from their land, another gang of children keeps tight control on the caravans smuggling the blue gemstones through the arid mountains of Pamir.


In this seamless blend of fictional and documentary form, we experience a stunning cinematic journey into the beauty of war-tormented Afghanistan. Shot over seven years on evocative 16mm footage, first-time director Pieter-Jan De Pue paints a whimsical yet haunting look at the condition of Afghanistan left for the next generation. As American soldiers prepare to leave, we follow De Pue deep into this hidden land where young boys form wild gangs to control trade routes, sell explosives from mines left over from war, and climb rusting tanks as playgrounds-making the new rules of war based on the harsh landscape left to them.  De Pue's transportative and wonderfully crafted film confronts the visceral beauty and roughness of survival, serving as a testament to the spirited innovation of childhood and the extreme resilience of a people and country.  - Sundance Film Festival Credits


Director & writer: Pieter-Jan De Pue

Producer: Bart Van Langendonck - SAVAGE FILM (BE)

Co-producers: Femke Wolting - SUBMARINE (NL), Morgan Bushe - FASTNET FILMS (IR), EYEWORKS (BE), Christian Beetz - GEBRUEDER BEETZ PRODUKTION (DE)

Cinematography: Pieter-Jan De Pue

With the support of: Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Dutch Film Fund (NFF), Centre du Cinéma et de l'audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles et de Voo, Belgian Development Cooperation - DGD, Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Irish Film Board, Media Development Program of the E.U., Belgian tax shelter for film financing, Canvas, IKON, Telenet/Prime and ZDF-Arte.

With the assistance of: the Belgian Embassies in Kabul and Kiev, the Belgian Vice-Prime Minister and Defense Minister Pieter De Crem.


Premiere at Bozar, Brussels on 6th of March

Release date Belgium: 16th of March 2016

Festivals & Awards

International Film Festival Rotterdam (USA, 2016) World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award: Best Cinematography at Sundance Film Festival

International Film Festival Rotterdam (The Netherlands, 2016)

Hot Docs International Film Festival (Canada, 2016)

True/False Festival (USA, 2016)

Hong Kong International Film Festival (China, 2016)

Visions du Réel (Suisse, 2016)

Documenta International Film Festival (Spain, 2016)






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