SXSW 2013 Review: THE NETWORK

By Renee’ Collins

Rating: 5 (Out of 5 Reels)

This film chronicles Afghanistan’s first independent television network -TOLO TV. The description for this film intrigued me because I can only begin to imagine how difficult it would be and is to operate a television station in the Middle East because of the enormous amount of religious constraints placed on their society.

Today, TOLO TV employs over eight-hundred Afghans to produce its programming which includes; news, comedy, lifestyle, current affairs, drama and music.  Another fascinating note is the fact that initially the entire project was being funded by the United States of America.  I will never be amazed at how the United States sticks its nose in everyone else’s business in the world but I actually think in this instance it is having a positive effect on the people of Afghanistan.  For example, women are being educated as to the fundamentals of reading and writing by watching children’s programming with their children.  Women are thought of as property in the Middle East; consequently a vast majority does not get any kind of education.  Apparently, another controversial program being aired covers general health care which is another topic most people need significant education on to improve their lives. 

This film is fascinating because it reveals the turmoil in Afghanistan and how it affects its’ people in general.  Seeing how simple educational programming is changing lives for the better is eye opening.  I would recommend this film to anyone wanting to learn about the Middle East.

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