Documentary film on Afghan photojournalists to be shown

Mo ScarpelliA highly acclaimed film documenting four Afghan photojournalists and a discussion with the film’s director will be presented as part of Linfield College’s special programming for January Term.

The film, “Frame by Frame,” will be shown Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. in Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall. It depicts a slice of Afghanistan’s rebuilding after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Prior to the fall merely taking a photograph was a crime. The film’s four photojournalist subjects, one of whom won a Pulitzer Prize, have to negotiate the new rules of conduct for media as the nation emerges from war and civil strife.

After the screening, Mo Scarpelli, a producer, director and cinematographer on the project, will discuss the making of it and the issues it raises. Kate McMahon, a Linfield alumna and producer for PBS’ “Frontline,” will moderate the discussion.

In addition to the rise of a free press and its role in a democracy, other themes the film deals with include the role of women in society and how to teach a new generation of photojournalists. It includes film shot in secret when the country was under Taliban rule.

“Photojournalism … has a capacity to humanize news events,” Scarpelli said in an interview in 2013, while the film was in production. “Photographs can make you feel the gravity or the irony or the beauty of the lives behind the issue or event. This can make an image — and therefore an issue or story — unforgettable.”

The film has been discussed on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Think Out Loud.” It premiered in 2015 at the SXSW Film Festival, was a BFI London Film Festival Gerson Award nominee this year, and was a top 10 audience favorite at Hotdocs, also this year.

Scarpelli’s co-producer, co-director and co-cinematographer on the film is Alexandria Bombach. More information about the film is at

The showing and discussion are free and open to the public. This event is sponsored by Linfield’s January Term programming team and the Department of Mass Communication.