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The Land of the Enlightened | 2016 Sundance Film Festival Review

25 January 2016 6:00 AM, PST | ioncinema | See recent ioncinema news »

Something Better Better Come: Afghan Kids Reign Supreme

In the opening sequence of The Land of the Enlightened following a radio broadcast from President Obama that announces that American troops would soon be pulling out of Afghanistan, first time filmmaker Pieter-Jan De Pue‘s alluring vérité depiction of Afghanistan’s bleak future, makes no bones about the country’s seemingly cursed existence, plotting out the cycle of Afghan misfortune via voiceover of holy legend and images mythical landscapes. “I made a mistake,” he (god) said. “I don’t have any land left for you.” With stunning 16mm cinematography, an empathetic eye, and a great deal of courage, De Pue digs into this lawless desert world, following a renegade band of armed children as they raid weary travelers and trade the opium and lapis lazuli they take as bounty, forging in the end a futureless portrait in which morals are discarded in the name of survival. »

- Jordan M. Smith

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Nat Geo Channel Developing Scripted Series with Scott Rudin, Josh Brand, Syria Docu with Sebastian Junger

6 January 2016 4:00 PM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

National Geographic Channel is hitting the gas on scripted development, setting series projects with Scott Rudin and “The Americans” writer-director Josh Brand.

The cabler also is has a documentary series in the works on the war in Syria and Iraq with journalist Sebastian Junger and producer Nick Quested.

The Rudin series is based on the Annie Proulx novel “Barkskins,” about the travels of a pair of poor Frenchmen across North America, China and New Zealand in the 17th century. Rudin is shepherding the development through the three-year pact he struck with Fox, FX and Nat Geo last year.

Brand has been tapped to write the script for “Blood Ivory,” which is eyed as Nat Geo’s first scripted series. The project revolves around the global network of trading in contraband animals and ivory, where profits can be diverted to terrorist groups. DNA Films & TV and FX Prods. are producing for Nat Geo. »

- Cynthia Littleton

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