In the Rumbling Belly of Motherland

Directed by Brishkay Ahmed

Afghanistan | 2021 | 83 minutes | Color | Dari | Order No. W211282

Filmed as the U.S. planned for its September 2021 withdrawal of troops, IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF MOTHERLAND documents an inspiring female-led news agency in Kabul, Afghanistan.


As the U.S. planned to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in September 2021, Canadian-Afghan filmmaker and journalist Brishkay Ahmed was filming IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF MOTHERLAND. Revealing the ongoing dangers for women reporters, and the extraordinary risks they take, this brave film provides an in-depth look into Zan TV, Kabul’s female-led news agency. A professional journalist herself, Ahmed documents both the harrowing and inspiring work of young, female journalists over the course of the two-year lead up to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Following parallel news stories as they unfold – two sets of national elections as well as ongoing U.S.-Taliban peace talks – the film reveals the daily hurdles Afghan female reporters and media staff face, underscoring the existential current events that threaten both Zan TV as a media outlet and the livelihoods of the women at its heart. Ultimately, IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF MOTHERLAND  serves as a prescient reminder that journalism matters and that we can never take women's rights for granted.  


“This film should be of special interest.”

The National Observer

“Illustrates journalism at its finest, and most harrowing.”

The Georgia Straight

"The film should evoke empathy in the view and also stoke a sense of responsibility that might bloom into advocacy."

Educational Media Reviews Online

"Women's voices and independent journalism have never been more in peril or, as IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF MOTHERLAND reminds, more important."

Create a Stir


  • Best Canadian Documentary – Long Form, Regina International Film Festival
  • Best Feature Film, Reel World Toronto
  • Nominee, Allen King Excellence in Documentary Award, Director’s Guild of Canada
  • Nominee, Feature Length Documentary, Leo Awards
  • DOXA Documentary Film Festival
  • Reel World Film Festival
  • Regina International Film Festival


Brishkay Ahmed

Brishkay Ahmed is a Canadian-Afghan director, writer, and journalist. She studied film production at New York University and the Iranian Young Cinema Society after completing journalism studies at Langara College and communications at Simon Fraser University. Her previous films include IN THE RUMBLING BELLY OF MOTHERLAND (2021), ARYANA RESURRECTED (2019), UNVEILED: THE KOHISTAN VIDEO SCANDAL (2016), and STORY OF BURQA (2012). She is also the writer and director of the Afghan primetime legal drama BETWEEN YOU AND ME. Her works have been generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, and Creative BC. She has completed creative partnerships with Bravo TV, CMF, CBS, NFB, Java Films, Super Channel, RTA, FKH Media, and Cinema Politica. In honor of Afghanistan’s 100-years of independence from British rule, Ahmed was commissioned to write and direct the documentary STORY OF OUR INDEPENDENCE for RTA, Afghanistan’s oldest Public Service Broadcaster, in 2019. She is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), DOC BC/T/NWT, and the Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC). (09/21) 

Director and ProducerBrishkay Ahmed 

CinematographyBrishkay Ahmed, Fatima Tawakoli, Ali Hussein Husseini 

Writer and Editor: Brishkay Ahmed 

Production Coordinator: Sajad Saee 

Composer: Chris Hind 

Featuring: Shogofa Sediqi, Najwa Alimi, Nazanin Bek Sadid, Fereshta Mahboby, Khalida Rasheed 

Fixer: Shuja Mumozi, Fatimas Tawakoli 

Researchers: Sofia Farahani, Atusa Farahani 

Sound Design: Doug Paterson 

Post Production Services: 24 Frames 

Translations: Fazel Ahmed Afghan 

Special Thanks To: Zan TV, Hamid Samar, Julia Ivanova, Elizabeth Sanchez, Reza Farahani, Roberta Stanley, Ahmad Elmay, Hamed Elmy 

Stock Footage: Ruptly News 

Developed with the Assistance of Canada Council for the Arts and Big World Sound 

With the participation of the Government of Canada 


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