Malek Shafi'i

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Malek Shafi'i
Malek Shafi'i.jpg
Born Abdul Malek
Qarabagh, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan
Occupation Filmmaker- Festival Organizer
Employer BASA Film AHRF
Board member of Board of Directors Burnaby Art Council

Part of a series on
People of Bamyan-3.jpg Hazara people

Malek Shafi’i (Persian: ملک شفیعی‎‎) is a film director, festival organizer and human rights activist.


Malek Shafi’i is the Founder and Executive Director of Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival (AHRFF). He is an award-winning film documentary maker based in Kabul and has been working in the war-torn country and abroad for the past 13 years. Shafi’i completed his education at Baagh Ferdaws Filmmaking Center in Tehran and Sociology studies in Kateb University in Kabul. Additionally, he attended film production, arts management courses and studies in the Netherlands and the United States. Malek returned to Afghanistan after 20 years of exile and founded "Bashgahe Cinema - Afghanistan Cinema Club – BASA" in 2006, a non-profit organization that promotes cultural and arts development projects with a focus on training and producing the work of emerging afghan filmmakers in Afghanistan. Other cultural projects where he has collaborated extensively include: Kabul International Documentary and Short Film Festival; and Second Take Film Festival 2008 – a film festival that juxtaposes the theme of "gender, cinema and society" in Afghanistan.

Malek has also acted as a Senior Media and Communication Advisor for RTA (Radio Television of Afghanistan), different NGO’s and international organizations as well as with the United Nations system of agencies in Afghanistan, implementing film and media projects on the promotion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He has directed and produced more than 30 films. Some of them won international film awards from different international film festivals in previous years. Shafi’i was a Jury member of the Tolo TV Film Festival, Kabul Film Festival, Amnesty Award of CPH-DOX, ADB (Asian Development Bank) My View Video competition and in the category judge of BANFF. Malek is a 2012 ArtsLink Residencies program Fellow in Visual Arts and Media, a program that engages communities through international arts partnerships. In order to use the power of traditional and new media to influence filmmaking and impact human rights and to connect Afghanistan’s current situation to other human rights issues from other parts of the world and with the need to create a cinematography stage to help Afghan filmmakers showcase their talent and expertise to Afghan filmgoers and the international audience living in Afghanistan, Malek joined creative forces with Afghan documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Diana Saqeb and Multimedia Producer and Arts Director Hassan Zakizadeh in 2011 to launch the first edition of Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival in Kabul, as well as other provinces of the country with the main objective of bringing human rights stories to a broader audience and to the real Afghan context.

Movies Selected[edit]

  • Since 1999 he made more than thirty Documentary and Short Fiction outside and inside Afghanistan, below listed some more known of them.
  • 2012 Bamyan the land of wonders / 25m / documentary for AKF (Aga Khan Foundation)
  • 2009 Savings Groups / 20m / documentary for AKF (Aga Khan Foundation)
  • 2008 Social audit / 20m / documentary for AKF (Aga Khan Foundation)
  • 2007 Self Helping Group / 15m / documentary for UN HABITAT
  • 2007 Up to the Parliament / 40m / documentary/ About the life, campaigning and political challenges of three female candidates in the first Afghanistan parliamentary election in history, Afghanistan
  • 2005 Pamir Territory / 38m / documentary / About Ismaili minority people of Pamir, Afghanistan
  • 2005 Drought in Hazarajat / 30m / documentary/ About drought in the Central Highland region of Afghanistan 2004 End of the Earth / 40m / documentary / 40 minutes. About September 11 and Afghan Refugees in European countries
  • 2004 Brown Package, short fiction / 32m / Cinematographer, working with Director Sohaila Jawaheri, Afghanistan
  • 2003 Kite, short fiction / 22m / Cinematographer, working with Director Razi Mohebi, Afghanistan

Documentary series[edit]

1999 Rewayat-e ‒ Hejr / 5 episodes / each 15m / Iran / About Illegal Afghan Refugees in Iran

  • Small Breadwinners
  • Afghan’s Village
  • Children of Earth
  • Brickwork
  • Mnqabat Reading

2000 Charaqhaye Rabeta / 5 episodes / each 25m / Iran / Autobiography and life of select Afghan Poets, Writers, Activists and Scientists who live in Iran

  • Poet, Mohammad Kazem Kazemi
  • Poet, Sharif Saeidi
  • Poet, Abutaleb Mozaffari
  • Dr. Esmatullahi
  • Afghan Carving Art

2003 Afghanistan, Heart of Asia / 9 episodes / each 25m / Afghanistan / An investigative reporting documentary series on the seven provinces of Afghanistan after the fall of Taliban; how the provinces look now, the local residents expectations of assistance from the international community, their daily lives and challenges, and historic and picturesque places to see and visit.

2007 Small City Great Expectations / 6 episodes / each 25m / Afghanistan/ A research documentary series on the following topics to give an image of what is happening in Afghanistan six years after the fall of the Taliban:

  • Women of small cities
  • Religious parties after the fall of Taliban
  • How the education system of Afghanistan works
  • Social services in Kabul city
  • Media and cultural development
  • Job challenges and unemployment

Joined documentary Movies: (Malek Shafi’I – Diana Saqeb)[edit]

  • 2012 / Mohtarama / documentary / HD / 60m / In 2009, the Afghan Parliament approved Shia Family Law, which was then signed by President Karzai. The law severely restricted women’s freedom, making it illegal for them to exit the house without their husband’s consent or to resist their husband’s sexual demands. Mohtarama is mainly about Shia Family Law and the educated Afghan women and their common concerns that range from lack of political and social rights, to domestic violence and troubled married lives, to street harassment. Co-Directed with Diana Saqab
  • 2010 / These Three Women / documentary / 20m / about three female Activists of the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission of Afghanistan; Co-Directed with Diana Saqab
  • 2009 / Run Roobina Run / documentary / DV CAM / 55 Minutes / About Roobina Moqimyar, the first Afghan Athletes in Olympic Games, Run Roobina Run was shot during the Beijing Olympic Games and is now ready to be screened and sent to festivals.
  • 2007 / Twenty Five Percent / documentary / DV CAM / 37m /Despite the many duties of the six female Afghan Members of Parliament have in their private lives as wives, mothers and daughters, they do attempt to live up to their responsibility for society both within and outside of Parliament, in a traditional and male-dominated environment. Since the women are not acknowledged a position in society, they must first assert it. Co-Directed with Diana Saqab

Other Documentary films as writer and Director[edit]


For End of the Earth

  • 2011 International Exile Film Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2009 International Human Rights Film Festival, Manama, Bahrain
  • 2009 Afghanistan Film Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2008 Afghanistan Film Festival, Kraków, Poland
  • 2007 VI International Audiovisual Festival, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • 2007 International TV Film Festival of Islamic Countries, Isfahan, Iran
  • 2006 IFCC Film Festival Italy, Matera, Italy
  • 2006 International Documentary and short Film Festival, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2006 Kazan International Film Festival (Golden Minbar), Kazan, Russia
  • 2005 Afghanistan Film Festival, Köln, Germany
  • 2005 Anti War Film Festival, Vancouver, Canada

For Drought in Hazarajat

  • 2004 Kish International Documentary Film Festival
  • 2005 FICC Film Festival in Italy, broadcast by BBC Persia and other TV stations

For Pamir Territory

  • 2006 Kazan (Russia) International Film Festival (Golden Minbar), Kazan, Russia (Winner)
  • 2006 Berlin Asia Pacific Film Festival, Berlin, Germany
  • 2006 IFCC Film Festival Italy, Matera, Italy
  • 2007 VI International Audiovisual Festival, Baku, Azerbaijan
  • 2009 International Human Rights Film Festival, Manama, Bahrain
  • 2008 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival, Guangzhou, China

For Up to the Parliament

  • 2007 Kabul Film Festival, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2008 FICC Film Festival, Matera, Italy

For Twenty Five Percent

  • 2008 Mostra International Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2008 Kraków International Film Festival, Kraków, Poland
  • 2009 Bahrain Human Rights Film Festival, Manama, Bahrain
  • 2009 Parwin Etesami International Film Festival, Tehran, Iran
  • 2009 Special screening for UK, Norway and Swedish Parliamentary Members
  • 2011 Special screening, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

BBC Persian BBC World News, My Country Program

For Mohtarama

  • 2013 The International Exile Film Festival, Sweden
  • 2013 Asiatica Film Festival, Rome, Italy
  • 2013 Atlanta Philosophy Film Festival
  • 2013 DMZ Docs, Korea
  • 2013 Foto Festival, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2013 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan, Special premiere (Winner)
  • 2012 Afghanistan Film Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2012 Screening in US embassy, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2012 Special screening, ISAF Compound, Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2012 Special screening, CDS Duke University, NC, USA
  • 2012 Special screening, Carolina Friends School, NC, USA
  • 2012 Special screening, Human Rights Day (10 December) UNAMA, Kabul, Afghanistan

SPECIAL SCREENINGS 2007 Screening of Malek’s three docomentaries (End of the Earth, Pamir Territory, and Up to the Parliament), Academy of Art, Tehran. Review and discussion of Afghan Cinema 2006 Screening of Malek’s three documentaries (End of the Earth, Pamir Territory, and Up to the Parliament) at the Singapore Film Society and discussion on Afghanistan’s challenges

  • Self Helping Group / 15m documentary for UN HABITAT / 2007
  • 3 Documentary for AKF, 2008-2011

Community Member[edit]

  • 1- International Federation of Film Society / Since 2008 [1]
  • 2- Documentary Organization of Canada.
  • 3- Barnaby Art Council.

Festival organizer[edit]

  • 2- 3rd International Documentary and Short Film Festival Kabul 2007/ 2008
  • Second Take Film Festival 2008
  • Afghanistan Human Rights Film Festival [2]

AHRF is an international film festival focusing on the subject of human rights. It aims to encourage film makers who use their cameras to document struggles against discrimination, injustice and violence.

We have been working towards this festival since 2009 and we are delighted that the first Human Rights Film Festival held in Kabul on 1–7 October 2011.

The festival is being organised by the Afghanistan Cinema Club with the support of various national and international organizations. It aims to be a hub for film makers and artists working despite of censorship in their countries and whose works are restricted from public screenings.

The AHRF is a platform to share the works of film makers and artists who have unfortunately been marginalized by the authority. It will present stories of lives affected by war, discrimination and injustice. These stories are of people who have resisted oppression and fought against violence to create a more humane world.

AHRF invites entries to the festival. The entries can be documentary, feature film, short film, animation or video art on the subject of human rights. Entry is open to all national and international entrants. There are two categories for entry: national and international. for more info about AHRFF and Its coming events [3]

Film Festivals jury members[edit]

  • 2011 ADB (Asian Development Bank) Video Competition Judge [4]
  • 2008 Amnesty Award Jury Member of (CPH:Dox), Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival CPH:DOX 2008
  • 2008-2011 Category Judge at BANFF Mountain Film Festival, Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • 2007 Jury Member of 2nd International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kabul
  • 2006 ‒ 2009 Jury Member of Tolo TV Film Festival Tolo TV
  • 2005 Jury Member of Ayina Film Festival, Kabul



  • Best Non-fiction Film Prize for Pamir Territory MFMK
  • Best Non-fiction Film Prize for End of the Earth from Kabul Film Festival First