A look at the situation of cinemas in the country shows that Kabul, a city that hosts an estimated six million population, has only one government-owned movie theater, Ariana Cinema, and three private-owned cinemas.
Artists said that Afghanistan had 45 cinemas three decades ago and 23 of them were in Kabul.
The first cinema was Cinema Behzad in the Bagh-e-Qazi area of Kabul, which was established 90 years ago but has since become ruins.
The three private-owned cinema halls are Numa Rasana, Ai Khanum and Daudzai, but they do not match the requirements for a standard cinema hall as described by artists.
Another cinema hall was the Park Cinema in downtown Kabul, which was destroyed by the government last month.
“The three cinema halls are run by the private sector and are in Kabul,” said Samira Rasa, spokesperson for Kabul Municipality.
Cinema Ariana can hold 600 spectators, but its workers say they have less than 200 visitors in a week.
“We don’t have visitors. Cinema represents the culture of a country, but we have less fans for cinema,” said Rahmatullah Ezati, an employee of Cinema Ariana.
The filmmaking story goes back 100 years in the country. The government’s only filmmaking entity, Afghan Film, was established in 1968. The 1980s was the golden era for Afghanistan’s cinema, but all cinema and filmmaking activities were stopped during the Taliban regime in the late 1990s.
Kabul Municipality is running the cinema halls' activities right now and Afghan Film has been led by a woman for the last two years. The Afghan Film hosted the country’s first film festival last month.