Afghan Dreamers at BIFF 2023
Amy and I have been sponsors of the Boulder International Film Festival for a while. We’ve also been helping fund documentaries and have received several executive producer credits. Two of these films are in the 2023 Boulder International Film Festival on March 2 – 5, 2023.
Afghan Dreamers is the story of an all-girls robotics team in Afghanistan who risks it all to prove that they can compete against anyone worldwide. Working in secret in a province under strong Taliban influence and the threat of violent retribution, the high-school-aged team members struggle in the face of immense odds and ever-present danger. They single-handedly begin to change perceptions in their entrenched Islamic culture. The film focuses on three team members – Fatemah, Somaya, and Lida – who become role models for the next generation.
I met David Cowan in 1988 when he was an undergraduate at Harvard and I was a graduate student at MIT. We became friends and regulars at Maven’s Deli in Harvard Square. Our first project was Feld Technologies reselling (not very successfully) a software product called DataRoute that David wrote for his father’s law firm. The phrase “Today is the day to route with DataRoute” still hangs out in the dark recesses of my memory.
David has produced several films and called me up when he started working on Afghan Dreamers. He knew I’d be an easy mark for joining in on the film based on my support of women and girls in computing. He did all the work, so I merely provided some money and moral support. I saw an early cut, but that was before the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, which added some extreme plot twists to the story. Amnesty International gave the film the Best Human Rights Film Award for 2022 at the Galway premiere, and the Woodstock Film Festival gave it Honorary Mention for Best Documentary Feature.
I look forward to seeing the final cut at Boulder High School on Saturday, March 4th.
My Sister Liv is the story of two inseparable sisters, Tess and Liv. However, as Liv enters adolescence and struggles with the relentless pressures of social media, depression, body dysmorphia, and, often, suicidal thoughts, her big sister Tess desperately struggles to save her. My Sister Liv is a rare and riveting journey into Liv’s raw emotions and fears as a young life on the edge. As Tess and her family learn to cope after unthinkable loss, they begin the heartbreaking journey to understanding the circumstances that led to Liv’s death and talk to experts to provide hope and solutions for this ever-growing epidemic.
Three of our friends—Grant Besser, Melissa Grumhaus, and Jason Lynch—introduced or mentioned Olivia Ahnemann, one of the producers of My Sister Liv, to us. After some discussion, we also decided to provide financial support for this film. We will also be watching it for the first time at Boulder High School on Saturday, March 4th.
Amy and I will have a double feature day at the Boulder International Film Festival on March 4th. I hope to see you there.