Jirga poster.jpg


78 mins | AUS | Political guerilla filmmaking drama

Dir: Benjamin Gilmour

$15 General admission
4pm - Saturday 22nd May
, Byron Theatre

$30 Filmmakers pass
12-11pm Saturday 22nd May
, Byron Theatre


Former Australian soldier, Mike (Sam Smith), returns to Afghanistan to find the family of a civilian he accidentally killed during the war. Seeking forgiveness, he puts his life in the hands of the village justice system – the Jirga. The film was shot under extreme circumstances, in dangerous locations and with assistance from the local people of Afghanistan.

"A remarkable truthfulness shepherds Benjamin Gilmour’s tightly written and conscientiously produced drama “Jirga” as it renders an image of Afghanistan not as a ravaged battleground but as an arrestingly rich land.

Hand-held shooting, with the director also serving as cinematographer, provides a gritty immediacy to the quest for atonement that Aussie war veteran Mike (Sam Smith) has embarked on, from the lively streets of Kabul to arid landscapes around Kandahar. A true Westerner, the remorseful ex-soldier assumes cash can indemnify the victims of a deathly fault he committed while deployed." - Los Angeles Times

Deemed too politically divisive to be produced in Pakistan JIRGA moved production at the last minute to Afghanistan and shot in one of the most dangerous regions in the world, Kandahar Province. Gilmour sought to create a film which showed the beauty of the Afghan country and people as well as highlight the detrimental impact of the War in Afghanistan on Western and Afghan people. He also wanted to create a film in which line between truth and fiction is blurred. Gilmour stated he wishes to "make an audience feel like they're not quite sure if they're watching a documentary or a drama.


This special screening includes a post-film Q&A with Director Benjamin Gilmour about the process of shooting a low budget film in Afghanistan.


Benjamin Gilmour is a writer and filmmaker, director of the films ‘Jirga’ (2019), ‘Paramedico’ (2012) and ‘Son of a Lion’ (2008). He is the author of the books ‘Warrior Poets’ (Pier 9) and ‘Paramedico – Around the World by Ambulance’ (HarperCollins), a tie-in with his recent film of the same name. His latest book, ‘The Gap’, is published by Penguin. He lives in Northern NSW, Australia.