Sonia Nassery Cole decided she wanted to shoot the film entirely in Afghanistan. Nobody else would shoot there, and the city cried out to be heard. She wrote a script as a visceral response to 9/11 and the subsequent terrorist activity, which plagues the region. She wanted to show the world that a thriving culture existed behind all the decades of war, something they hadn't seen before. The people, their ethics and a real family everyone could relate to in some way. It was important to break the mold on modern interpretations of Afghanistan and give the audience a better idea of what the country is really all about.
Understandably, most of the friends she contacted for help or advice regarding the film believed she wouldn't make it through the shoot and told her the film was unsupportable. It was no secret that the odds were not in her favor. The inevitable danger that would be encountered was daunting enough but trying to gather the right people willing to be part of the production was another feat. Over roughly a year, Cole was able to leverage her connections in the entertainment industry and assemble a team. Without financial support from a studio or anyone else, she completely self-financed the film. With everything on the line, she then headed to Afghanistan to do the impossible.
After arriving in Kabul, Cole and her team were able to assemble an entirely Afghan cast and crew excluding the handful of American members who came with her. Depending on the day, it ranged anywhere from 50-150 crewmembers. Despite addressing safety concerns with around the clock security; extortion, government corruption, death threats and kidnapping attempts were encountered far too often. Everywhere the crew turned, the threat of violence was palpable to everyone associated with the film.
Cole's hope is that the risk taken making the film will help Afghanistan in some way and show the world that it wishes to be a forward moving nation. It was a beautiful, prosperous and self-sustainable place before the Soviet invasion and has been struggling to go back to what it once was. She also wanted to give something back to Islam, whose basic tenants of faith, hope and love have been tainted with suspicion, brutality and hatred amidst the recent terrorist activity.
Arriving back in the US, the film was edited at Warner Bros. and the score was composed by Christopher Young. The film was recently completed and selected as Afghanistan's official submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2011 Academy Awards. Two songs from the film, "Azadi (Freedom Song)" and "Forever One Love", were also in contention for the Best Original Song Oscar. Release plans are currently underway.