Filmmaker Hassan Fazili fled Afghanistan last year to Europe hoping he could speak freely there after Taliban threatened him with death over one of his movies.
But he will remain voiceless at a German film festival on Monday, where his work will be screened but he cannot attend due to his refugee status.
The 37-year-old began making films about women’s rights a decade ago after getting married to his wife, Fatima, who like many others had been prevented from going to schools.
“I must do something to raise up this issue to the world,” Fazili told Reuters this week. Now his wife is also a filmmaker.
Apart from making movies, Fazili opened a restaurant in Kabul with a hope that it provides a space for men and women to meet and discuss art and politics in an open manner.
But in 2014, police and religious authorities launched a crackdown that forced him to close his Kabul’s Art Café and Restaurant.
He faced Taliban death threats after his latest film titled “Peace in Afghanistan”.
“I received phone calls saying that they will kill me making movies like this,” he said.
Fazili added that he was forced to turn down invitations to screen his movies in U.S. and U.K. due to visa restrictions.
The Afghan filmmaker is now living in Serbia along with more than 6,000 migrants who have been stranded in the country and stopped from moving further into Europe.
The organizers of the Censored Women’s Film Festival due for Monday in Berlin have petitioned U.N. refugee agency to allow Fazili to make the trip. The festival is expected to screen “Mr. Fazili’s Wife,” a 10-minute drama about a widow who fights expectations that she would become a prostitute.
“We are desperate for Hassan to come to Berlin and share his story,” the festival’s spokeswoman, Paula Kewskin, said.
But Fazili has lost hope of getting the opportunity to present his work to an international audience.
His regrets is that despite being freed from persecution and working for women’s rights, he still is not part of the conversation.
“They might have questions about the movie and, as a director, I’m supposed to answer the questions,” he said. “But we can’t do much from here.”