Carnegie Mellon University
February 13, 2023

CMU International Film Festival Begins

Sneak preview event set for Feb. 16 with “What We Left Unfinished”

By Stacy Kish

Mariam Ghani, writer, artist and filmmaker will present her documentary “What We Left Unfinished” to launch Carnegie Mellon University’s 2023 International Film Festival (IFF) — Faces of Change. The event, presented by CMU IFF and the Center for the Arts in Society, begins at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16, in McConomy Auditorium on CMU’s campus. Tickets for the event are available on the CMU IFF website.

The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with Ghani, moderated by Habib Sorosh, visiting research professor of Afghan cinema and drama and a member of the Scholars at Risk network. Ghani will discuss the ways film interacts with social, cultural and political structures.

“What We Left Unfinished” features five unfinished films from Afghanistan’s communist era (1978–1992), exploring the ways in which those unfinished projects leave their mark in the present. Through the splicing and editing of the films, Ghani highlights the ways in which art and politics interacted during this period in the country. The film provides an immersive experience into each piece, allowing viewers to analyze the ways film can function as an artifact rather than a fully formed ideological entity. “What We Left Unfinished” brings to light the dedication of filmmakers to their craft in a time when ideas and creative freedom underwent extensive scrutiny and control.

“Myself, along with our team of 35 interns, are immensely proud to open our 2023 festival edition with a profound film like ‘What We Left Unfinished,’” said Jolanta Lion, CMU IFF director. “More importantly, we get to hear from Mariam Ghani herself about the process to develop such an impactful and insightful film about a history she, herself, is very much connected to.”

The film is a sneak preview for the CMU International Film Festival, which takes place from March 16 to April 2, 2023. The Humanities Center organizes the festival with the support of the Humanities Scholars Program. The festival is dedicated to, and inspired by, the life and work of the late Paul Goodman, a world-renowned filmmaker, psychologist and CMU professor. The “What We Left Unfinished” event is co-sponsored by the School of Art, the Humanities Center, the Kim and Eric Giler Humanities Lecture Fund and the Humanities Scholars Program.