Scarlet Poppy (HD(Red) / Color / 90min / Afghanistan, India, USA)
Barmak Film, Scarlet Poppy LLC
Peter Bussian is a photographer and a filmmaker. He has been working on international development, war and refugees for many years. His clients are UN agencies, NGOs and magazines and newspapers such as Paris-Match and the New York Times. Bussian has worked extensively in Afghanistan since 2001 when he was invited by the Taliban to `come and show the world the real Afghanistan`. He has held solo photo exhibitions at the UN and several prominent galleries. In 2007, he starred in Afghan Director Siddiq Barmak’s award winning feature film, "Opium War." Bussian studied film in the graduate school of Columbia University in New York and at Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, NM. He received a BA in philosophy from the University of Colorado. He lives in New York.
Siddiq Barmak is an acclaimed Afghan filmmaker and one of the most respected artists in South Asia. His first feature film, Osama, became an international sensation in 2003 when the outside world was hungry for his depiction of life under the Taliban. His tragic tale of a girl trying to survive as a boy in Taliban-era Kabul won top awards at 13 festivals around the world, including Cannes, Toronto and London. It also acquired Best Foreign Film at 2004 Golden Globe Award. Barmak’s position in cotemporary Afghanistan as a filmmaker, artist and political commentator cannot be overstated. In 2008, he released his second feature, Opium War, a drama about two American soldiers whose their helicopter crashed near a poppy field in the Afghan desert. Opium War won the Critic`s Award at 2008 Rome International Film Festival and also won prizes in several other festivals. It was Afghanistan’s official selection to 2008 Academy Awards.
Nic, a private U.S. contractor, has spent years working in Afghanistan and has become increasingly jaded by the violence, hypocrisy and futility he has witnessed. Divorced, alone, and with little more than a tenuous long distance correspondence with his daughter, Nic is a man without a home, doing work that has lost all meaning.
Shakeila, an Afghan widow, mother of two, and doctor, lives in the conservative Pashtun heartland and runs a clinic. She finds herself caught up in a Taliban-controlled culture so repressive that it is increasingly making her life and aspirations impossible.
One day, Nic and Shakeila accidentally gaze into each other’s the eyes at a check point. Shakeila is quickly covered with a burkha and Nic is left with the image of the only part of her body he can see - her scarlet painted toes. Later they meet again and what passes unspoken between Nic and Shakeila cannot be denied by either. A latent jealousy from a local drug lord leads to a love triangle and an almost inevitable conclusion.