POV: Midnight Traveler (PBS)
Midnight Traveler begins with director Hassan Fazili and his wife Nargis deciding they must leave their home of Afghanistan, accompanied by their two small children. Fleeing a bounty on the father’s head, the Fazili family set out for Europe, and the film offers a first-person account of a yearslong journey to safety. Shot solely on mobile phones, Midnight Traveler powerfully captures the volatility and chaos of the family’s trip, at one moment pausing on a playful debate between the parents, or on a tender moment of parenting and laughter, only to cut to the temporary loss of a daughter or to the imminent threat of anti-migrant protesters trying to force their way into a refugee camp. Throughout, the film stands as an arresting and deeply moving testament to the power of parenting through trauma. It offers a remarkably rare, and remarkably valuable, humanizing picture of the everyday life of a refugee family, while also stopping at points to consider the ethics of filming such a journey. For a major work of documentary filmmaking that is terrifying and uplifting, difficult and easy to watch, beautiful and important, we commend Fazili and Midnight Traveler with a Peabody.
Executive Producers: Justine Nagan, Chris White, Sally Jo Fifer. Producers: Emelie Mahdavian, Su Kim. Co-Producers: Fatima Hussaini, Ahmad Imami. Director: Hassan Fazili. Writer: Emelie Mahdavian. Editor: Emelie Mahdavian. Cinematography: Hassan Fazili, Fatima Hussaini, Nargis Fazili, Zahra Fazili. Sound / Music: Gretchen Jude, Daniel Timmons, Tony Volante.