Snow Monkey

( Australia, Norway / 2015 )
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In Snow Monkey, Gittoes paints a portrait of a Jalalabad seething with humanity, adversity and hope – focusing on three gangs of children: the Ghostbusters, persecuted Kochi boys who hawk exorcisms of bad luck and demons; the Snow Monkeys, who sell ice cream to support their families; and the Gangsters, a razor gang led by a nine-year-old antihero called Steel, terrifying to the core but still capable of experiencing aspects of the childhood seemingly taken from him.
With a deeply humane vision,Gittoes shows us the unseen nature of Afghanistan's politics, culture and society, up close and startlingly personal.
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Formats: Digital Copy, DVD
Running Time: 148 min.
Theme: Anthropology, Conflicts, Crime, Current Affairs, Middle Eastern Studies, Society, Urbanism, War see all »
Language(s): Arabic, English, Pashtu
Subtitles: English
Director(s): George Gittoes
Producer(s): George Gittoes, Lizzette Atkins
Editor(s): George Gittoes, Waqar see all »
Excluded regions: Australia
Snow Monkey


  • Snow Monkey presents the children and adults living in a much-demonized and war-wounded culture with heartbreaking humanity. Highly recommended.
    Video Librarian
  • Snow Monkey takes a digressive approach to the documentary format, frequently taking time out from its human subjects to note the shocking details of daily life in Afghanistan, such as the drone bombers that routinely pass overhead. The effect is immersive, a word Gittoes positively welcomes.
  • The gonzo documentary has the violence and B-movie tropes of The Act of Killing; the peace-and-love spirit of John and Yoko's Bed-Ins; and the meaningful-yet-not-corny community engagement of Jaimie Warren's social-practice art.

awards & accolades

  • Biografilm Festival - Winner Audience Award for Best Film of Contemporary Lives

Festival participation

  • Biografilm Festival 2016
  • Sheffield Doc/fest 2016
  • MIFF 2015
  • IDFA 2015

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Additional Info

Production Company:
Distribution Company: Cinephil

  • Director Biography

    GEORGE GITTOES is an artist who deliberately places himself in the path of the war machine. He is also an award-winning filmmaker.

    Over the last 45 years he has lived, worked and born witness in countries around the world suffering appallingly destructive violent conflict, including Cambodia, Rwanda, Somalia, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Bosnia, East Timor, Palestine, Congo, South Africa, Lebanon, Gaza, Russia, Mozambique, Timor, Western Sahara, Yemen, and Iraq. In these diverse locations he has set up studios to document and advocate for people caught up in the chaos; utilizing art as a positive force to declare “war on war.”

    In 1969-71 he was one of the founders of the now-legendary Yellow House in Sydney, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s vision of artistic collaboration in Provence. In 2010 he settled in the Taliban stronghold of Jalalabad, Afghanistan and established a new Yellow House — just a few blocks from where former Jalalabad resident Osama bin Laden is said to have lived while allegedly plotting the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. George’s engagement with Afghanistan is deep and longstanding, dating back 16 years.
    His feature documentaries have been broadcast and screened at festivals throughout the world including; Miscreants of Taliwood(2009), made in Pakistan and screened by SBS, IDFA and at Telluride;Rampage, shot in Miami and screened at Berlin Film Festival where it was nominated for a Golden Hugo Best Documentary and subsequently released theatrically in the UK and Australia. The Soundtrack to War, his feature documentary shot in 2004/04 in Iraq screened on ABC and several scenes were also included in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Prior to Snow Monkey, his most recent feature documentary, Love City Jalalabad premiered at the Sydney Film Festival 2013 and was nominated for the Foxtel Australian Documentary Award.
    Among many prizes, Gittoes has twice been awarded the Blake Prize for Religious Art and was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2015

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Snow Monkey

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