Elizabeth Mizraei talks about her film 'Laila at the Bridge'

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Elizabeth Mirzaei talked about her film 'Laila at the Bridge'

​In a country offering almost no treatment services despite a crisis of addiction, Laila Haidari took the highly unusual decision to found her own pioneering addiction treatment center and a restaurant where all of the waiters are recovering heroin addicts. Her brother Hakim, a solidly recovered addict, runs her free treatment center, which offers services for both men and women. As a former child bride she has known hardship in her 40 years. And she revisits that misery regularly as she mingles with drug-addicts, huddled under a Kabul bridge.

She encounters corpses. And she meets the near-dead, malnourished and sick who she tries to convince to accompany her to Mother Camp. "When I listen to their pain, I forget my own," says Laila, who has struggled to provide sanctuary for heroin addicts in the world’s largest opium-producing country. Since she began her work, Laila has treated more than 2,000 people at her free center and has paid a high personal price for these successes. Her three children still live in Iran, where she grew up as a refugee during Afghanistan's Taliban rule. She has been separated from them for 10 years.

Due to the danger inherent in her work at the center, Laila cannot bring her children to join her in Afghanistan. As foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan and international aid dries up, Laila struggles to prevail over a crisis of addiction and a corrupt government in a country on the verge of collapse.

Laila at the Bridge is a deeply personal perspective on the global addiction epidemic in Afghanistan. The film follows the labor of love of one woman fighting to keep her center alive in the face of physical threats, governmental opposition and the departure of the international community from Afghanistan.

Watch the trailer here.

About the director: Elizabeth Mirzaei, Director and DP, was previously a teacher for blind students, the editor of a newspaper on a Russian island, and the manager of an expat bar in Kabul.

In 2011, she and her husband Gulistan Mirzaei began co-directing short documentaries for Al Jazeera’s award winning Witness strand. Elizabeth was a director and cinematographer on the BBC’s The Killing of Farkhunda, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award, and a cinematographer on the Emmy-nominated What Tomorrow Brings.

Her short films have also been shown before world leaders at the Oslo Conference on Women’s Rights and she worked with the Tiziano Project to teach filmmaking to students in a Kabul high school. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.


Image Copyright: Elizabeth Mirzaei and Intuitive Pictures. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck's podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Like this podcast? rabble is reader/listener supported journalism.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.