Wake the Dust

January 2014

DIRECTED BY: Emily McMehen
PRODUCED BY: Emily McMehen and Geoffrey Sautner


Wake the Dust is an impression of Afghanistan as taken from a lifetime of exposure to its representations in Western media. To the civilians of the West, Afghanistan is a world that is composed only of fragments. Using clips from Afghan tourism films, newsreels and youtube videos, Wake the Dust combines these fragments to voice an echo of the discordant image being transmitted over five generations; the Russian occupation, the Afghan civil war and conflict between the Taliban and the Coalition forces, ending with footage of drone strikes carried out in 2012. An experimental short format film, Wake the Dust combines snippets of the personal correspondence between director Emily McMehen and two soldiers who served in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014, with found footage and an original musical score by Shahzad Ismaily and Gyda Valtysdottir. It is an attempt to imagine a version of a country that is invisible despite its ever presence in the public eye, and to draw from a vocabulary of images-out-of-context.

Cast and Crew:
Shahzad Ismaily, Gyda Valtysdottir  - OST
Erik Southey - Sound Design
Steph Hume, Emily McMehen, Fred - voice

Thanks: Angela Gasparetto, YouTube users, vimeo users, JT, TT, MC