The documentary film The Iron Friendship will tell the story of China’s growing presence in Pakistan and explore its political, economic and military ramifications for the United States. It is a developing, incredibly important story that remains unknown to most Americans beyond military and foreign policy experts. Filmmakers Brent Huffman, Dr. Amina Asim, and Xiaoli Zhou, with unprecedented exclusive access to the Pakistani and Chinese governments, will document and bring to viewers this essential, yet under-reported story of the 21st century.
In the style of character-based, journalistic, essay-style documentaries such as FRONTLINE’s international documentaries and Brent Huffman’s own Saving Mes Aynak (his award-winning Netflix documentary about the threats from the Taliban and a vast Chinese mining operation to one of the wonders of the world, an ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan), The Iron Friendship will mix dramatic scenes filmed inside Pakistan with interviews with fascinating characters, insiders and experts from different perspectives to create a complex portrait of China in Pakistan, the future of the new Silk Road, and what it all means for Americans.
The film will also examine the opposition’s point of view interviewing Chinese Uyghurs who have fled China due to oppression, as well as representatives of the Taliban who are determined to resist China’s expansion into Pakistan and the surrounding region. Recently, Uyghurs in Pakistan told horror stories of a “War on Muslims” in China and countries under China’s influence. In Gilgit-Baltistan at the northernmost edge of CPEC at the border of China, Uyghurs have been under siege and there has been talk of Chinese government kidnappings of wives and children who are put into re-education “concentration camps.” Filmmakers will have exclusive access with these Uyghurs to tell this harrowing story of the rumored one million plus Muslim Uyghurs oppressed and imprisoned by the Chinese government, all while China tries to woo the Muslim nation of Pakistan. Interviews with concerned officials in Washington, D.C., and long-time observers of Pakistan-China-India-U.S. relations will round out this layered, nuanced portrait of changing global power.