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Jirga: Behind the scenes

Director Benjamin Gilmour reveals the extraordinary story of how his latest film Jirga was filmed in Afghanistan.

Gilmour also talks about how meeting veterans through his 20-year career as a paramedic in New South Wales influenced the story of Jirga, how he collaborated with the Afghan locals on the script, and how he enjoys blurring the lines of truth and fiction.

“I love making an audience feel as though they’re not quite sure whether they’re watching a documentary or a drama,” he says.

It’s not Gilmour’s first film to be made overseas, after directing Son of a Lion and Paramedico, and he elaborates on some of the specific challenges of filming in Afghanistan.

“You need to be essentially like a news crew, where something happens and off you go, and get what you can on-the-fly,” he says.

“So there was this constant pressure, this constant adrenaline that was all-pervasive, but I think those situations bring out the best in everyone involved.”


Jirga is in cinemas now and is distributed by Footprint Films.