With This Breath I Fly



“Through powerful interviews, intimate moments and beautiful visuals, the documentary earns the attention of audiences through a high-stakes and emotionally heavy journey that is often impossible to predict where it will go next.”

— Austin Chronicle

“With This Breath I Fly is a remarkable documentary. I strongly encourage anyone with a beating heart and inquisitive eyes to watch it as soon as possible.”

— Film Threat

About the Filmmakers

Clementine Malpas, Director

Clem is documentary filmmaker with over nine years experience in the developing world. A self-shooting director, she was previously based in Kenya and Afghanistan, and has made films for Channel Four, NBC, PBS, Current TV, the United Nations and the Aga Khan Foundation.

Sam French, Director / Producer

An Oscar-nominated filmmaker and founding director of the documentary production company Development Pictures, Sam French’s work has appeared on HBO, BBC, CNN, Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera, National Geographic and other broadcast outlets. Sam returned to his roots in narrative filmmaking to direct “Buzkashi Boys,” shot entirely on location in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he lived and worked for five years. “Buzkashi Boys” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013, and was co-produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO that Sam co-founded in 2010 to help train Afghan filmmakers and foster Afghanistan’s film industry.

Leslie Knott, Producer

Leslie is an award-winning filmmaker and co-founder of Tiger Nest Films. Her first film, Out of the Ashes, the story of the Afghan Cricket team’s rise to success (BBC Storyville), won a 2011 Grierson Award. Her films have been broadcast on Netflix, BBC, ARTE, PBS, ITV, ABC, NBC, Channel 4 and CBC. In 2013 Leslie was nominated for an Academy Award for “Buzkashi Boys” which was co-produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit NGO that Leslie co-founded in 2010 to help train Afghan filmmakers and foster Afghanistan’s film industry.

Jeff Zimbalist, Executive Producer

Jeff Zimbalist is a multi-Emmy and Peabody winning producer, writer and director, best known for FAVELA RISING (Tribeca Film Festival Winner, IDA Winner, Emmy Nominee, HBO & Thinkfilm 2005), THE TWO ESCOBARS (Cannes Film Festival, Peabody Winner, Emmy Nominee, WGA Nominee, ESPN 2010), MOMENTUM GENERATION (Emmy Winner, Tribeca Film Festival Winner, Los Angeles Film Awards Winner, HBO & Universal 2018), the Netflix series REMASTERED (Emmy winner, 6 Emmy nominations, Netflix 2019), and recently the Netflix series HEIST (Netflix 2021) and the Apple+ series THE LINE (Apple, 2021).

Baktash Ahadi, Associate Producer & Translator

Baktash Ahadi was born in Kabul, lived as a refugee in Pakistan and grew up in the United States. Before filmmaking, Baktash was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique and served as a military translator in Afghanistan for three years. Baktash has produced and translated a number of award-winning documentaries, most notably Frame by Frame, which is full length documentary about free speech and photojournalism in Afghanistan.

Farzana Wahidy, Associate Producer

Farzana Wahidy is an award-winning Afghan documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her photographs of women and girls in Afghanistan. She was the first female photographer in Afghanistan to work with international media agencies such as the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Why We Care

Farida and Gulnaz’ experience is not unusual. Over 50% of women imprisoned in Afghanistan are locked up for what society considers “moral crimes”. Running away from an abusive husband or being raped are not criminal acts under the Afghan constitution. Quite the opposite in fact -- abusing and raping women are crimes. Yet the overwhelmingly male dominated justice system punishes and imprisons women for the crimes that men committ against them.

“With This Breath I Fly” exposes this terrible double standard and explores how women are treated like second class citizens in Afghanistan. The imprisonment of Farida and Gulnaz may be shocking to a Western viewer, but the sad fact is that women in Afghanistan are already imprisoned by the society in which they live. Unable to speak out against the cultural norms that keep them subservient and bound to the whims of their male husbands and relatives, they have nowhere to turn and hardly anyone but a few brave lawyers to protect their rights.

In this polarizing time, it is more important than ever to tell the stories of those most marginalized by society. Only by showing that we are all human beings, with similar hopes and dreams, can we find a narrative that brings us closer together.

While we were filming in Afghanistan, Gulnaz became the international face of Afghan women. Her plight was featured in hundreds of publications, including the cover of the New York Times. This publicity led to an unprecedented pardon by President Karzai.

Telling stories matters. It can make an impact. Only by building awareness can we make a difference.

Today hundreds of thousands of women continue to be imprisoned for so called “moral crimes” in Afghanistan and across the world. Most can’t speak out, silenced by the male dominated society in which they live. They are sometimes killed by their own families to erase the shame of their dishonor.

Gulnaz and Farida displayed incredible courage by sharing their stories with us against overwhelming pressure to stay silent. We want to honor these brave women and amplify their voices so they can be heard.

We hope the film will rekindle the conversation and shine a light on this injustice so that we can help all women fight for a better future.

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With This Breath I Fly is a fiscally sponsored project of the International Documentary Association (IDA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are payable to the IDA and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

We’d like to hear from you. Email us at: info@thisbreath.org

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ROCO Films
Cristine Platt Dewey

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