Directed by Hassan Fazili
“A valuable, first-hand refugee’s story.”—Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter
The story of refugees is most often told by others — journalists, NGO workers, and other outsiders who strive to faithfully convey traumatic experiences far removed from their own. When assassins target Afghan documentarian Hassan Fazili in 2015 after he makes a film about Taliban fighters who have laid down arms, he must flee Afghanistan with his family. At the mercy of political winds, local police, extortionate smugglers, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, they try to control their situation and its narrative through the only means available—the video recording button on their phones.
Midnight Traveler traces the Fazili family’s years-long, unpredictable journey out of Afghanistan and westward along one of Europe’s most notorious smuggling routes, with stops in refugee camps in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary. Along the way, Hassan, his wife Fatima, and their two young daughters document their interactions with other refugees, smugglers, and police, collecting diverse perspectives on the refugee experience.
Life in the camps puts a strain on the family, leading Hassan to weigh his political ideals against the risks and losses they’ve endured. Yet the uneasy ritual of “capturing beautiful images of [his] own children suffering” spins a lifeline to his past as a humanitarian and intellectual.
Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival. 2019, U.S./U.K./Canada/Qatar, DCP, in Arabic, English, Turkish, and Bulgarian with English subtitles, 90 minutes. Recommended for 13+.