Wolf and Sheep (2016): Female Afghan Director Shahrbanoo Sadat’s Debut

The Directors’ Fortnight of the 2016 Cannes Film Fest has selected the Danish production Wolf and Sheep as one of the 18 features to be shown.

Shot in Tajikistan by one of the first female Afghan directors, Shahrbanoo Sadat, is a poetic portrait suffused with magic realism of the rural community where the director grew up.

It was produced by Katja Adomeit for Adomeit Film (Pine Ridge, The Weight of Elephants, Force Majeure).

The film was shot under challenging circumstances in Tajikistan because, even though it was the director’s dream to shoot in her native country, it would have been much too dangerous for a largely female crew to shoot in Afghanistan.

Subsequently, an entire Afghan village needed to be rebuild from scratch without a production designer and the 38 Afghan actors had to travel through Taliban area to reach the set. And of course, having a naked woman roaming around the houses was not an easy thing in a Muslim community. This alone will also make it very unlikely for Shahrbanoo Sadat to ever be able to show the film in Afghanistan even if the Naked Green Fairy is a belief shared by many.

Rural Afghanistan

In rural Afghanistan, people believe in the stories they invent, which explain the mysteries of the world. Shepherd children own the mountains. Even though there are no grown ups around, they know the rules very well; the main one is that boys and girls are not allowed to be together. The boys practice with their slings to fight wolves. The girls smoke secretly and play wedding, dreaming of getting a husband soon.

They gossip about Sediqa, 11, an outsider. They think she is cursed. Qodrat, 11, becomes the gossip topic, after his mother remarries with an old man with two wives. He is alone in the most isolated parts of the mountains, where he meets Sediqa and they become friends.

WOLF AND SHEEP is the first feature of Shahrbanoo Sadat, a young Afghan female scriptwriter and director.  Based in Kabul, Shahr studied documentary in “Atelier Varan Kabul” a French Workshop.

Her first short, “Vice Versa One,” was selected at Directors’ Fortnight in 2011.

In 2013, she opened her production company “Wolf Pictures” in Kabul.

Wolf and Sheep was developed with the Cannes Cinéfondation Residency in 2010, when Shahr was 20 years old.

Adomeit Film Company

The film was produced by the Danish production company Adomeit Film of Katja Adomeit who worked in the film industry in New Zealand, Germany and Denmark. She worked with Zentropa for six years before she opened her own company ADOMEIT FILM in December 2011.

Adomeit Film works closely with its filmmakers as part of the creative team, and together they constitute the Adomeit Family. The work is based on continuous exchange of ideas, content and advice. The films are intended to address and entertain an international audience and have been coproduced internationally, screened worldwide, and won awards at acclaimed festivals (Pine Ridge (Venice), The Weight of Elephants (Berlin), Not at Home (Rotterdam).

Adomeit also coproduced Force Majeure by Ruben Östlund and will co-produce his next feature film.

Adomeit film consists of Katja Adomeit (CEO and producer), Maj Skifter and Annette Averhoff (Producer assistants), and directors Anna Eborn, Annika Berg, Daniel Borgman, and Shahrbanoo Sadat.