Saving Mes Aynak, a 2014 award-winning Kartemquin documentary film, chronicles one Afghan archaeologist’s fight to save a 5,000-year-old Buddhist site from ruin. As a Chinese mining company closes in on Mes Aynak, hoping to extract $100 billion dollars’ worth of copper buried underneath, Qadir Temori and his team of archaeologists face an almost impossible battle to thwart the imminent demolition amid embroiled conflict with the Taliban and local political play.
With only ten percent of the site excavated, some believe Mes Aynak holds historic keys that could unlock mysteries of Afghan history—and the history of Buddhism itself. As conflict, globalization, and economic opportunity come to blows in Afghanistan, Saving Mes Aynak chronicles the efforts of those risking their lives to preserve a slice of Afghan heritage.
Carnegie hosted an exclusive screening of this powerful film. A light reception was offered from 5:30 to 6:30, the film was screened at 6:30, and a discussion with director Brent Huffman and Hannah Bloch followed. Carnegie’s Tom Carver moderated.
Brent Huffman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and director of Saving Mes Aynak.
Hannah Bloch has covered Afghanistan since 1996, when she was named TIME magazine’s first full-time correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, a post she held for six years. Her story “Rescuing Mes Aynak" appears in the September 2015 issue of National Geographic.
Tom Carver is vice president for communications and strategy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously served as senior vice president at Chlopak, Leonard & Schechter. A former award-winning journalist, Carver worked for the BBC from 1984 to 2004.