THE star of a Bafta-nominated film about the struggles of Afghan women living under Taliban rule has said she hopes her new film can help raise further awareness of the issues facing those living in the country.

Afsaneh Dehrouyeh is the star of Yellow – a short film made by filmmaker Elham Ehsas – which has picked up a nomination in the Best British Short Film category.

The story focuses on a woman living in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan who enters a store to buy her first chadari – a full body veil.

Speaking to The National, the British-Iranian actress discussed how she hoped the film could raise awareness of the plight of Afghan women.

“It’s a very simple but effective concept. The Taliban have said that it’s compulsory for women to wear the chadari now,” she said.

“The film is set in 2021 just after the Taliban have captured Afghanistan and in the character meets a salesman who tries to help her and that’s really the story.”

Specifically, Dehrouyeh hopes that the film ensures people are aware of the ongoing issues the country is facing as she feels media coverage has somewhat fallen behind in that regard.

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She explained: “I don’t think this is a cause that really got the attention it deserved. I think it says a lot about the power of cinema and storytelling thought that we have made something like this though.

“I do get a lot of messages from women who feel seen for the first time on screen so I do think it’s important to be able to give it that space.

“To get that level of exposure and be going to that ceremony in London does mean a lot and it feels particularly special given the topic and the story.”

However, despite finding success with the film, Dehrouyeh admits that there are still issues facing Middle Eastern actors trying to break into the industry. 

Although she says things have improved, Dehrouyeh believes there are still stereotypes that persist on screen and is pleased that isn’t the case with this particular short film. 

“It’s a great feeling to be able to go with something you really believe in, as I personally find as a British-Middle Eastern actor that we’re fighting stereotypes at times,” she says.

“What I love about this film is I believe in the story so wholeheartedly but I still think there is still room more widely for us to be listened to.

“Some things I will get an audition for and just have to say no because I might feel like it’s trying to glamorise terrorism for example.

“I don’t want to be a part of that and also as an actor you don’t want to constantly be doing these stories where you’re the person that has to fix certain narratives or storylines and it’s a lot of work on top of what your job already is. I still feel like there’s a long way to go.”

The National:

Dehrouyeh (above) also told The National that she recently spent some time working on a project in Scotland, although it’s something she has to keep under wraps for the time being.

She says she enjoyed her time here and was asked what she thought of Scotland’s efforts to raise awareness of the issues she’s discussing.

For example, SNP MP Joanna Cherry previously penned a column for The National on how women in Afghanistan deserve better protection.

Dehrouyeh added: “I was working in Glasgow at the end of last year so I spent some time there and a little bit in Aberdeen as well.

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“It feels like in the spaces I was in, it was a very liberal space. I always felt very comfortable at any protests and it was good to see that was the case.”

This year’s Baftas will take place on February 18 2024 and will be hosted by Scottish actor David Tennant.