Under the Taliban, women in Afghanistan were forced to become faceless. Covered by burqas, forbidden to show even a tiny patch of skin, they lived in an almost unbelievably oppressive atmosphere for six long years. This engrossing film documents an unusual and ultimately very moving cultural exchange: a group of volunteer women, comprised of both Americans and Afghan-Americans, recently traveled to that country to teach beauty skills. In Kabul, where such trades had been practiced in secret, so many candidates turned up that a lottery system had to be instituted. Many of them were women who had led desperate lives for years. The film plays witness to their growing self-confidence. Perhaps more surprisingly, it observes how the emotional interactions between Afghan and Western women led to healing and spiritual transformation on both sides, and proves that sisterhood can transcend national boundaries.
Liz Mermin is a New York-based director, producer, and editor. Her first documentary feature, On Hostile Ground (1999), made with Jenny Raskin, chronicles the lives of three U.S. abortion providers, and was released theatrically before airing on the Sundance Channel. Her recent television work includes Report from Ground Zero, ABC's anniversary special about the World Trade Center attacks, for which she was a producer and editor, and Parking Lot, a six-part series about fan culture, which she produced and edited for Trio. She has also made documentaries and PSA's for the Discovery, Court TV, and Oxygen channels, and has written about film for a variety of journals and magazines. She has a B.A. in Literature from Harvard University, a master's degree in Anthropology from NYU, and studied film as a Fulbright scholar in Dakar, Senegal, as well as at the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program in New York.