Frame by Frame

Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli

Under the Taliban regime, photography was a mortal sin in Afghanistan. But ‘a land without photography is a land without identity’, according to one of the photographers in this stylized tribute to photojournalism. Four brave Afghan photojournalists literally try to establish new frameworks in a country where photography had been banned for years. Winner of the VARA Audience Award of the Movies that Matter Festival 2016.

After the American troops drove the Taliban out of Afghanistan in 2001, a new free press slowly emerged. Frame by Frame follows four brave eminent photographers in their mission to capture the living conditions, culture and landscape in turbulent Afghanistan in captivating pictures. The result is a portrait of a country we have never seen before, shown through the eyes of Afghan photographers who caused a minor media revolution.

The photographers try to document as much as they can, but their work is fraught with danger. When one of them walks into a hospital for female patients, she is told that the consequences of her visit could be dire: the Taliban will destroy the hospital and kill the doctors. With the foreign troops and media gone, it is not getting any easier for these journalists. The big question is whether the fundamentalists that are still present in the country will seize power once again.

In spite of the constant threat, the photographers are determined to make a visual map of the country for future generations. Besides their perseverance and camaraderie, the film shows their collective eye for unexpected beauty and provides the world a new view of the tumultuous yet marvellously beautiful Afghanistan.


Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli
Jeff Orlowski, Alexandria Bombach
Country of production
85 minutes
Spoken language
Dari, English
Production company
Red Reel
World Sales
Frame by Frame