Price: $310.00

    Code: 2357

    Directed by Ian Olds
    2008, 84 minutes
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom Rental: $125

    A "fixer" is someone hired by foreign journalists to translate, navigate and gain access for their stories. In 2007, twenty-four-year-old Ajmal Naqshbandi, a journalist and fixer, was captured alongside Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo by the Taliban in Afghanistan. With aid from both Italian and Afghan governments, Mastrogiacomo was released. Ajmal was not.

    Directed by Ian Olds (Occupation: Dreamland), Fixer follows Ajmal in the months before his capture as he travels with one of his clients, American journalist Christian Parenti - alternately translating eye-witness accounts, securing meetings with warlords and liberally sharing his views on what's happening in his country. It allows us to intimately understand the nature of his work as well as the rarely-credited contributions made by people like Ajmal.

    The documentary also uncovers the convoluted aftermath of his kidnapping. Why was the Italian journalist freed while Ajmal was left behind? In attempting to answer this troubling question, the film reveals the shady details of a botched hostage negotiation and offers insight into the complicated relationship between western journalists and their local guides.

    This incisive, critically-acclaimed documentary takes us behind the headlines, not just to show the dangers of reporting from a war zone, but to see exactly how that story we watch on television or read in the paper is gathered, interpreted and shaped. It also provides an extraordinay view of today's Afghanistan.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    Winner, Best New Documentary Filmmaker, Tribeca Film Festival, 2009
    Emmy Nominee, Outstanding Investigative Journalism, 2010


    “A stunning documentary. As unsettling and complex as the country it traverses…The film illuminates not only the extreme dangers faced by journalists and their Afghan facilitators (or, fixers) but also the extreme stasis of a country choking on corruption and barbarism.” - The New York Times

    “A haunting documentary… Fixer reveals how the story of a war gets told.” - The Nation

    “If this sounds harrowing, it is. Fixer is the best documentary I've seen on Afghanistan - so good it's hard to imagine a better one. It's all jagged edges, blurs, and disconnects, catching as it does both the forbidding emptiness of the land and the edginess of war-weary Afghans.” - Ann Jones, The Huffington Post (Author of “Kabul In Winter”)

    “Highly recommended especially for journalism and international studies audiences. Without Parenti’s footage Naqshbandi’s murder would be little more than a news story in a world of tragic news stories. But by seeing and learning about his life first-hand, one comes away with a bracing glimpse at the corruption and violence in Afghanistan today. This film portrays this tragedy in a way that won’t be forgotten.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

    “Allows us to see the whole picture, understand the entirety of Naqshbandi’s work.” - Indiewire

    “One of the strongest candidates [of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival] is Ian Olds’s Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.” – The New York Times

    “A harrowing look at today’s Afghanistan, where violence and corruption continue to ravage the country.” - Democracy Now

    “The death of a young Afghani hired by Western journalists is removed from the newspaper margins and put front and center in docu helmer Ian Olds' unflinching Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi.” - Variety