Nuristan flyover

Its been a while since we posted a status update on the film and several people have been in touch to ask about its progress, since our original goal was to finish the film this December. While we have passed many of the benchmarks required in order to complete production we’re predicting that the program will be completed in the Spring of 2014. I’ve outlines some of the challenges that we’ve faced that have resulted in this new longer timeline.

Due to the challenging fundraising environment we’ve required more time than expected to raise the support needed for the film. The Kickstarter campaign was a huge shot in the arm and allowed us to make the Afghanistan trip in March, but there was a lot that it didn’t cover that we had to raise additional funds for. We have since then been able to raise most of the money we need through a combination of grants and additional private donations. The funding we have received has enabled us to hire our editor full-time. This was the single biggest hurdle in finishing the project.

The filmmakers still need two final interviews to complete the filming of the documentary, and while I can’t divulge at this point who we are interviewing suffice to say it is very important to the film and hasn’t been possible until now.

Many of the interviews in the film were conducted in Persian (Dari). While on location in Afghanistan, Libby Little often interacted informally with Afghan colleagues and their conversations were captured. We have about 8 hours of this material that needs to be translated. While Producer Lukas Augustin does speak Dari to a degree, he felt that as a native German, translating from Dari to English he would not be able to give a dynamic version of the interviews. The filmmakers are working to secure a translator for the project and we believe that we will have the necessary translation by January 2014.

Some of you may have seen our announcement about adding editor Michael Swantek to the team in August. Right now the total assets for this project currently exceed well over 100 hours of content and several hundred gigabytes of photos and audio recordings. Much of his work in the preceding months has been transcribing, organizing, collecting and converting material for use in the film. He is currently editing the feature length version of the documentary on a full-time basis.

The film currently lacks a composer. We recently approached a prominent musician and are awaiting a response to our offer. Scoring the film is an ‘X’ factor with the project as we do not have an estimate on how long this will take. We are also interested in licensing a Bob Dylan track called “Let Me Die in My Footsteps”, the lyrics of which are embossed on Dr. Little’s grave in Kabul. This however would be contingent on raising some additional funds, as these sorts of things do come without costs.

Taking all of the preceding into consideration, it is likely that a preliminary cut of the film will be available in April of 2014. We would like to thank you all for your support and affirm that your support is in good hands. We remain committed to the process of creating and distributing this production and hope that you’ll bear with us a while longer. If you do so we believe that we will over-deliver on your expectations.

5 thoughts on “A New Year’s update on “The Hard Places”

  1. Is it possible to obtain copies of “The Hard Places” on DVD for Australia?
    My husband and I were close friends of Tom & Libby since we lived in USA in the 1970s, and now have lived in Australia since 1979. We would love to be able to show this story to people in Australia. Thank you. – Rhonda Sampson.

  2. Hello,
    How is the film coming? I’m anxious to see it. I am a researcher investigating the British Cemetery in Kabul. I communicate a good deal with Molly and Nellika Little and the Terry family. I’m using the Facebook Page Friends of the British Cemetery as a clearinghouse/information gathering resource. Here is the link if you are interested:
    Best Regards,

    Richard Williams
    Joshua Tree, Ca

  3. Augustin – Your beautiful photography that lines the walls of CURE Kabul International also have a special place in my office in Houston, Texas. Thank you for sharing your talents with so many.

    The stories of Dr. Tom and Afghanistan resonate in our hearts. My wife, Jacki, spent almost 2 years as Executive Dir of CURE Intl Hospital in Kabul. I had the great fortune to travel to Kabul twice as a physician, teacher and friend.

    We look forward to the release of Hard Places. What can we do to help with the completion of this wonderful story of human compassion and dedication to the Afghan people?

    We look forward to hearing from you. I can be reached at the email address above and Jacki can be reached at

    With gratitude,
    Rob Dickinson, MD

  4. Lukas – Additionally Rob and I may know a composer here in Houston who is extremely talented and has access to students at both Rice University and The Moores School of Music at the University of Houston.

    Please let us know what we can do to help.

    Jacki Lammert (Dickinson)

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