Due to popular demand the film will be screening at the Zero Film Festival New York. Film maker Ian Hamilton, along with the feature documentary's star, Clown Doctor Jean-Paul Bell, will be travelling to New York for a Question & Answer time following the screening.
All proceeds of the screening go to their Afghan charityOperation KCH
When I heard about Clown Doctor Jean Paul and Maggie’s plans to celebrate their second marriage by honeymooning in war torn Afghanistan I was compelled to tell their story.
How far would John Paul go to make someone happy? Could his humour make a difference in a country ravaged by war?
What did they hope to achieve when western aid had failed Afghanistan for decades.The film explores the politics of charity and aid in a country long suffering from aid fatigue. One of the central themes of the film explores issues and sensitivities around charity and aid. Whether well-intentioned amateurs could actually make any difference in a country where the fundamental problems are so profound that they’ve cracked the very bedrock of Afghan society.
The film also explores Jean Paul’s use of humour to unify and transcend race, class and culture through Jean Paul’s mime performances. From the beginning we where also interested in Jean Paul’s belief in the power of humour to heal and transcend cultural and political boundaries.
We also wanted to challenge the West’s perception of Afghan and Muslim stereotypes portrayed in the media post 9/11.
As western countries fail to deliver on their promises of aid to Afghanistan to the tune of 10 billion dollars, we wanted to explore the responsibility and power of the individual to make positive change in society and challenge the notion that we should all just leave it to the experts.
Honeymoon in Kabul follows newly weds, Maggie Haertsch and clown doctor Jean Paul Bell, on their whirlwind mission to take medical aid and humour to the children of Kabul.
Maggie and Jean Paul arrive in Kabul amidst riots, and discover that their precious cargo of humidi cribs and advanced medical equipment is strewn over a dirty hospital floor, useless in a country where electricity is unreliable and 1000’s of children are dying of malnutrition and dysentery every year.
The film explores the politics of aid in a country long suffering from aid fatigue. One of the central themes of the film explores issues and sensitivities around charity and aid. Whether well-intentioned amateurs could actually make any difference in a country where the fundamental problems are so profound that they’ve cracked the very bedrock of Afghan society.
Humour in the face of this adversity is a major theme in the film. Maggie and Jean Paul’s stoicism and sense of humour is reflected in equal measure by many of the Afghan characters we meet in the story.
In the film we witness Jean Paul’s belief in the power of humour to entertain and transcend cross cultural barriers with his simple paper bag trick. He entertains gun wielding Afghans, nervous American soldiers, doctors and sick children as he endeavours to introduce his “paper bag revolution.”
Maggie and Jean Paul find their motives questioned by one of Afghanistan's most respected political activists and parliamentarian Malalaya Joya, when they visit her safe house armed with donations of baby clothes and a few toys.
Fear turns to relief in the end of the film, when they are lucky to get out alive.
Honeymoon in Kabul is an inspiring story about 2 passionate Aussies who discover that the delivery of aid in Afghanistan is as complex and delicate as any second marriage.
Ian graduated from the University of Newcastle with a BA (Communications), majoring in Film Production, Photography and Public Relations. He has worked on numerous documentary projects for Film Australia and ABC TV, includng Wildside, Bordertown, Police Rescue, GP and the BBC series Soldier Soldier.
Other credits include the Australian feature films Rabbit Proof Fence, The Nostradamus Kid, Me Myself and I, Bootmen, Dianna and Me, Billie Holiday and Bad News Bachelors. American and British feature film credits include Mission Impossible II, Race the Sun and Power Rangers.
Ian has also lectured in Film and Television Production at AFTRS, the Australian Defence Force and the University of Newcastle.
Ian's photography has been published in numerous magazines and books including Vogue Living, Australian Country Style, Instyle, Culture and Hunter Lifestyle. He has also won national awards in fashion photography.
In 2008, Ian premiered his first feature documentary, Honeymoon in Kabul.