Sahar Adish and her family fled Afghanistan in 1998, to escape the Taliban, after the fundamentalists seized control of Kabul. They made their way to a refugee camp in Pakistan where they lived until 2002, when they were granted asylum in the United States. The International Rescue Committee resettled them in Charlottesville, getting her geologist father work as a hotel janitor and her teacher mother a job at a day care center. Three years ago, as a student at Light House, Adish made a film about her family’s escape to America, entitled “Sahar: Before the Sun.” Fellow students Joe Babarsky, Sanja Jovanovic, Luke Tilghman all worked on the film, which went on to be widely broadcast on the Independent Film Channel, among others.
Now comes the news that Sahar and her three collaborators have won a Peabody award, Katherine Ludwig reports in the current C-Ville Weekly. The Peabody is the highest award in journalism — to have one’s first film win a Peabody is akin to walking into a baseball park for the first time and hitting the grand slam that wins the World Series. The award is for “Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet,” broadcast on CNN International in 2006, which included the Light House film along with eight others.
I can only find an excerpt of the movie online. While down with the flu last year I was thrilled to stumble across the film on TV, and doubly thrilled when I realized that it was local. There’s no caveat here; it’s not good despite having been made by a group of teenagers. It’s just flat-out a stunning work.