Carnegie Mellon University

Afghan Dinner & a Movie

CAS Dinner & a Movie Series

January 31, 2024 - 5:00pm-7:30pm
Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (CFA 111)

CAS has sponsored this event in support of CMU's Artists and Scholars at Risk (ASAR) program.

Screening of the film A Letter to the President & discussion with director Roya Sadat and writer/actor Aziz Dildar

A Letter to the President depicts the story of Soraya, a police investigator, who is imprisoned when she stops a village elder from killing his young wife over accusations that the girl dishonored him. Behind bars, she writes the Afghan President for help. Will he read her letter in time to pardon her from execution? The film, which explores patriarchy and tribal justice in a nation battered by suicide bombers and generations of war, has been described by critics as “pointed and persuasive.” A Letter to the President was selected as the official entry from Afghanistan for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

Roya Sadat is Afghanistan’s first female award-winning producer, director and writer. In 2003 she founded ROYA Film House (RFH), the first film company owned by an Afghan woman, whose films and television shows have won more than fifty international awards.  She also established the annual Herat International Women's Film Festival, the first international film festival held inside Afghanistan to focus on movies by women filmmakers from all over the world. For the last two decades, Sadat has successfully brought touching stories about Afghan women to international film festivals and has became a role-model female Afghan film and television producer and director.  She has won dozens of awards for her movies, Three Dots (2003), Playing the Taar (2008) and A Letter to the President (2017). Sadat was named one of the BBC’s 100 Women for 2021. Last year she collaborated with Seattle Opera on their production of A Thousand Splendid Suns, and she is currently working on two new projects: a documentary titled The Sharp Edge of Peace, and a feature film titled Sima’s Song.

Aziz Dildar wrote, co-produced, and also stars in A Letter to the President. Dildar’s academic achievements, film scripts, and cinematic directing on social issues faced by vulnerable populations of his people have won him international praise and distinguished him as a leading Afghan film artist: he has written and/or produced over a dozen films and television programs. Dildar is the CEO of ROYA Film House, and the co-writer of the forthcoming feature film Sima’s Song.

Join us for a screening of the film, a discussion with Roya Sadat & Aziz Dildar, and a delicious meal. This event will be moderated by Habib Sorosh, Visiting Research Professor in Afghan Cinema and Theater.

The CAS "Dinner and a Movie" Series is co-sponsored by the the Humanities Scholars Program - Kim and Eric Giler Humanities Lectures Fund, the Sustainability Initiative, and the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry.