September Tapes

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


Chris Johnston's September Tapes is an uncompromising, timely, and action-packed film that is sure to be controversial. Set in post-9/11 Afghanistan, this thought-provoking debut blends fiction with the real war and fashions an authentic and powerful look at one man's quest for answers.

Less than a year after the attacks on the World Trade Center, journalist Don Larson and two others go to Kabul to find the truth not being reported by the media. The trio meets members of the Northern Alliance as well as rebels, but Larson is arrested for taking pictures of police. In jail, he learns of Babak, a bounty hunter on the trail of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. The journey takes a drastic turn when the men follow Babak into the middle of a fierce gun battle and barely survive a barrage of bullets, missiles, and errant U.S. bombs. When Babak deserts them, the men are left to face their own demons.

Johnston's inimitable direction under adverse conditions makes us wonder how much is acting and which bullets are real. He dives headfirst, physically and politically, into thorny terrain to tell a story that inflames and astounds. Politics aside, September Tapes is an incredible filmmaking accomplishment.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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