Postcards from Tora Bora

Wazhmah Osman and Kelly Dolak

filming Postcards from Tora Bora

In the summer of 2004, filmmakers Wazhmah Osman and Kelly Dolak set out to make an independent film that explored whether Afghan women’s lives had actually improved as a result of the US military campaign. The documentary that came out of this question, Postcards from Tora Bora, became far more than an exploration of women’s rights in Afghanistan. The film also follows Wazhmah Osman’s journey as she returns to her childhood home, from which her family fled at the height of the Cold War. Armed only with rapidly fading memories, she recruits some unlikely and reluctant guides to put together the pieces of her past. As Osman desperately searches for any tangible evidence of her former life, the journey leads her to many unexpected places. On the road, Osman frequently finds herself at a strange intersection where cultures clash, identities are mistaken, and the past violently collides with the present. Postcards from Tora Bora has been screened at many international film festivals including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival, the Global Peace Film Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, and the Second Take / Splice In Film Festival, and has received numerous awards.

Wazhmah Osman is a New York City based documentary filmmaker. She has a Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies from New York University and currently is a PhD candidate in Culture and Communication at NYU. She is also completing the Culture and Media Program in Anthropology. Before going back to school she worked for six years at Millennium Film Workshops and Cooper Union School of the Arts as a film technician, film instructor, and curator.

Kelly Dolak is a filmmaker currently teaching digital filmmaking at Ramapo College. Her short films have been screened at film festivals both nationally and internationally. Her short, Purse, was showcased on PBS’s “Reel New York” and screened at more than 10 film festivals. She began her producing career working for the Emmy-award winning show “Behind the Screen” for five years at AMC and now is an independent documentary film producer.