FRONTRUNNER: the afghan woman who surprised the world

FRONTRUNNER: the afghan woman who surprised the world

    Price: $350.00

    Code: 2288

    Directed by Virginia Williams
    2008, 90 minutes
    Purchase: $350 | Classroom Rental: $125

    "Frontrunner is the story of a woman who took the first fragile promise of democracy in Afghanistan, and dared to run for President. Her story is irresistible. Her courage is contagious."
    - Gloria Steinem

    The heroic story of the first woman to run for President of Afghanistan. Frontrunner introduces us to Dr. Massouda Jalal, a mother of three children, whose campaign inspired thousands of women across the country to participate in the democratic process.

    As a children's advocate during the Taliban regime, Dr. Massouda Jalal risked her life on a daily basis. Now, she boldly runs for president - the only woman in a field of 17 candidates. Amidst death threats and bomb attacks, we follow Massouda as she doggedly campaigns from the back of a taxi, in mosques, in homes, in busy markets and in the streets. We accompany her as she travels to radio stations (trying to convince skeptical callers that a woman can indeed run a country), watch as she films a political ad, and eavesdrop on her strategy sessions. She receives support from AWAZ Media, a non-profit organization that has been enlisted by the UN to provide resources - strategy, equipment, know-how - to all the candidates..

    In Frontrunner, Jalal emerges as a committed, confident woman who defies all Western stereotypes of who a Muslim Afghan woman can and "should" be. Although she ultimately lost the election to Hamid Karzai, her courageous campaign opened the door for over 550 women to run for Parliament just a few months later.

    Filmmaker Virginia Williams is available for speaking engagements and/or question and answer sessions. Please contact her directly:

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Selection, Slamdance Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Screening, WomenRULE Womens Leadership Symposium, Washington, DC, 2008
    * Official Selection,Independent Film Festival of Boston, 2008
    * Official Selection, Miami International Film Festival, 2008


    “Massouda’s candidacy is all about change.” – CNN

    “A moving documentary… The behind-the-scenes political meetings and her interaction with individual citizens are particularly interesting… As pointed out in the nicely-paced program, perhaps her greatest contribution during the campaign was to embolden women to become part of the political process as hundreds later ran as candidates for parliament. Media centers will want to seriously consider this timely program because of its potential value as a resource in women's studies, politics, and world cultures.” - School Library Journal

    “A well-made film…. a timely documentary… Frontrunner stands on its own, documenting, as it does, a moment of hope for women, peace and democracy in a troubled part of the world.” – Educational Media Reviews Online

    Frontrunner offers a fine portrait of one committed woman, while also reminding us that while the road to democracy may be worth traveling, it invariably features numerous potholes and speed bumps. Recommended.” - Video Librarian