Article Lead Image

Kickstarter documentary follows the risky lives of Afghan photojournalists

What happens to journalism in Afghanistan once U.S. forces pull out? Frame by Frame looks for answers.


Fidel Martinez


Posted on Aug 19, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 8:47 am CDT

What will happen to Afghanistan’s free press when the United States pulls its forces from the beleaguered Middle Eastern country? Filmmakers Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli want to make a documentary about it, and they’ve taken to Kickstarter to make it happen.

The pair are hoping to raise $40,000 for Frame by Frame, a feature-length film where they’ll chronicle the day-to-day lives of some of the country’s photojournalists and the looming threat they face—both in their professional careers and personal well-being—if the Taliban were to once again come into power.

Among the photographers Bombach and Scarpelli will follow are Massoud Hossaini, Farzana Wahidy, and Najibullah Mussafer. In 2012, Hossaini was awarded the  Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for his haunting picture that portrays a 12-year-old Afghan girl crying amidst dead bodies caused by a suicide bombing. Wahidy is one of the few female photojournalists in the country, and Mussafer risked his life by sneaking film into Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban.

“Afghan photojournalists have a unique opportunity to build democracy in Afghanistan in a way that never existed before: through a free press,” the duo stated in a press release. 

 “Their work is a crucial part of showing what is happening during this very uncertain time—and now they must stand on their own.”

In the past couple of years, the crowdfunding platform has been instrumental in the production of high-caliber films. In the last year alone, a Kickstarter-backed film won an Academy Award while another took the top documentary prize at South by Southwest.

With a little over a week left in their campaign, Bombach and Scarpelli have managed to raise more than $33,000 from 417 backers.

Photo via Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli

Share this article
*First Published: Aug 19, 2013, 2:13 pm CDT