Winner of the Royal Television Society Journalism Award and the ACE Cable Award (formerly the highest award in U.S. cable television).
Filming clandestinely in Kandahar, Jeff B. Harmon and Alexander Lindsay captured uniquely stunning images of combat and daily life under Soviet occupation. The result is an extraordinary documentary on Afghanistan's holy war as seen through the eyes of Haji Adbul Latif, the Lion of Kandahar and his mujahideen. The definitive film on the Soviet-Afghan War.
Director/Producer Jeff B. Harmon and Cameraman/Producer Alexander Lindsay spent over one year making Jihad. Kandahar is situated in a desert plain where there are no mountains to hide in. Unlike the rest of Afghanistan, in Kandahar the mujahideen live side-by-side with the Soviets and the Afghan army. Haji Latif and his warriors fight every day. It was for these reasons that Harmon and Lindsay decided to film in Kandahar, where it is not uncommon to die for Islam. They wanted to capture the essence of this holy war through the peasants who refused to become refugees. For it was the peasants who were on the front line, waging a war with a modern superpower against seemingly impossible odds.
Harmon and Lindsay made three separate trips into Afghanistan to make Jihad. The logistical problems were vast. On a trip to Kunar Province, 13 porters carried equipment over mountain passes too steep for mules. In the city of Kandahar, Harmon and Lindsay filmed one city block from both Soviet and Afghan posts, hiding themselves and their equipment under prayer shawls. It had been over a year since a film crew had been able to enter the city. The previous crew had been ambushed on their way to the city.
During the filming of Jihad a spy reported the presence of the film crew in Kandahar. The Soviet and Afghan armies launched a military operation to capture or kill Haji Latif and the filmmakers. Having been pinned down for three hours under machine-gun and shell fire, Harmon and Lindsay eventually managed to escape to the outskirts of the city.
Only after a considerable time with the mujahideen at the front, were the filmmakers able to capture on camera the warriors most personal feelings and beliefs. Jihad centers on individuals, some of whom were captured or killed during the making of this film. The total candour of the mujahideen is what distinguishes Jihad from any previous documentary on the Soviet-Afghan war.
In JIHAD we penetrate the minds of those Afghan guerrillas who fought the Soviets and, against all odds, eventually defeated them.
Reviews for Isle of Lesbos
The Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Oklahoma! in this outrageous musical comedy feature - a 1940s Technicolor-style fantasy extravaganza with a modern and subversive twist. Isle of Lesbos is set in two worlds: Bumfuck, Arkansas, a one horse god fearin' town and the Isle of Lesbos, a different dimension in time and space where lesbians rule the universe.
The two worlds collide on April Pfferpot's wedding day. April, a Bible Belt beauty, is about to say "I do" to the local football hero, Dick Dickson. Instead, our heroine suffers a case of "wedding day jitters" and attempts to blow her brains out. As April pulls the trigger, she is sucked through her bedroom mirror. She materialises in the middle of a pagan ceremony on the Isle of Lesbos - a lesbian rendition of The Wizard of Oz. April is terrified, especially when she is confronted by Blatz Balinski, the Isle's beer guzzling tyrant. Though Blatz has the grace and beauty of Fred Flintstone, she eventually conquers April's heart.
Back in Bumfuck, Ma and Pa Pfferpot go berserk when they find out their little April is a lesbian. Desperate to bring their daughter back, they consult Dr. Sigmoid Colon, a sinister Viennese veterinarian renowned for "curing" homosexuality. But when the doctor falls for Dick Dickson, things start to get ugly.
A jilted and humiliated Dick Dickson machine-guns his way through Lesbos on a search and destroy mission until he is overpowered by "Same Sex Love". An enraged Pa launches a nuclear missile from a U.S. Government silo on his farm. Much to his dismay, it is a gay bomb that reverses course and wipes out the entire eastern seaboard of the United States.
Fifteen original songs and a cast of madcap characters will have audiences of all persuasions tapping their feet. A story chock full of American family values ... Just don't bring the kids!
Jeff B. Harmon is an American film director, writer, producer and war correspondent. He is also an actor, photographer and songwriter.
As a correspondent, Harmon infiltrated the Nazi underground in Paraguay while searching for Auschwitz Dr. Josef Mengele. He was the only journalist or filmmaker to interview the head of a right-wing death squad during El Salvador’s civil war – revealed in his documentary The Front Line. He covered the coronation of Central Africa’s crazed Emperor Bokassa and the fall of Uganda’s homicidal dictator Idi Amin.
Working as a filmmaker together with British cameraman Alexander Lindsay, Harmon completed his Afghan Trilogy: Jihad, Afgan, and Warlord of Kayan. Three films from three different sides of the Soviet-Afghan War: the mujahideen, the Soviet armed forces, and an independent Afghan warlord. These films are considered the definitive documentaries on that war.
Just before the start of the first Gulf War, Producer/Director Harmon and Cameraman Lindsay travelled to Iraq to film the day-to-day life and cult of Saddam Hussein. His documentary, Saddam's Iraq, depicted a prosperous and sophisticated society in which every aspect of life was coloured by ‘love’ for the ‘'Great Leader'’. Darkly ironic, the film captured the surreal and Orwellian nature of life under Saddam Hussein.
Harmon’s documentaries have been broadcast on the BBC, National Geographic Explorer, Channel 4 (U.K) and the Frontline series on PBS. His films have won numerous awards including Britain’s Royal Television Society Journalism Award, the ACE Cable Award, and the Grand Award at the Houston International Film Festival (the top prize in a competition of over 500 feature films and documentaries).
His articles and photographs have been published in Harper’s, Life, the Sunday Times Magazine, the Independent Magazine, New Statesman, the Daily Telegraph, Icon, Penthouse, and Gallery, where he was chief foreign correspondent.
Harmon took a giant leap from war to Hollywood where he wrote, directed and composed the feature film Isle of Lesbos. Most recently, he is the author of Picaro: Psychopaths, Warlords, and a Rogue Journalist on the Dark Side of History, a candid and often shocking memoir of his years as a war correspondent and gay man leading a double life on the front lines of some of the most homophobic countries in the world.
Harmon’s unflinching documentation of war and clandestine history has provoked governments and rebel movements alike, resulting in three execution orders on his life.
To purchase Harmon’s memoir, Picaro, visit www.picarobook.com
Jeff B. Harmon directing Afgan in 1988 | Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
MORE FILMS BY JEFF B. HARMON
"Outrageous and shrewdly telling...a gem."
- MOVING PICTURES
"A high camp, high concept Technicolor musical."
- The Ticket, NBC Europe
"'Isle of Lesbos' deserves to be the hit of the festival...It is a hoot that had me laughing from beginning to end."
- Jeff Rossen, Chicago Magazine
“Inspired by the golden age of Hollywood musicals, Harmon has created a low-budget gem that is funny, outrageous and shrewdly telling.”
- Owen Levy, Moving Pictures Magazine
"There's a meticulousness about the way the film has been shot that confounds the Laurel and Hardy technology. There are dark patches of German expressionism that Fritz Lang might have framed...But the most striking feature is the painstaking recreation of the more-lurid-than-life Technicolor of 'Oklahoma!' and 'West Side Story'.”
- James Christopher, Time Out Magazine (London)
“Most of you may not remember the best lesbian musical of all time, 'Isle of Lesbos'. There have been some incredible gay musicals . . . but I am telling you, you just have to find a copy of 'Isle of Lesbos'. Sit back with your popcorn, your rah rah gang and enjoy a campy and glorious lesbian musical that set the stage.”
– Jan Miller Corran, president of More Than Friends Productions
“If you took the 'The Wizard of Oz', added a taste of 'Rocky Horror' and morsels of 'Grease', then combined it with elements of any John Waters movie and added a few fairy tails you'd get it. 'Isle of Lesbos' is by far the best the London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival has had to offer in aeons. Whoever says lesbians can't be camp hasn't seen this.”
- Megan Radclyffe, Time Out Magazine (London)
"Movie musicals are nearly extinct; low budget musicals unheard of. But writer-director Jeff B. Harmon has gone where no man has gone before and brought back a very original feature."
- Jeff Pierson, Split Screen & Independent Film Channel
“Finally, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' has found its legitimate successor...Vivid colors, eccentric costumes and the joyous songs give this bizarre show the glitz and glamour of the golden age of musicals.”
- Tip Magazine
Director, Writer & Producer
Jeff B. Harmon
Daniel L. Stoecker - Co-Producer
Richard N. McGuire - Associate Producer
Clark Mathis - Director of Photography
Cast (in alphabetical order)
Alex Boling ... Lance
Diana Burbano ... Viv
Michael Dotson ... Dick Dickson
Calvin Grant ... The Bomb
Jeff B. Harmon ... Pa Pfferpot / Dr. Sigmoid Colon
Sonya Hensley ... Emphysema Jones
Janet Krajeski ... Ma Pfferpot
Sabrina Lu ... Doris
Danica Sheridan ... Blatz Balinski
Kirsten Holly Smith ... April Pfferpot
Music & Lyrics by
Jeff B. Harmon
Film Editing by
Music Direction by
Production Design by
Martin Roy Mervel
Art Direction by
Richard N. McGuire
Costume Design by
Tony Cupstid .... makeup artist & hair stylist
Charlene Burris .... makeup artist
Kim Konsler .... additional makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard N. McGuire & Ron Shino ....first assistant directors
Eric Sommet...associate production designer & sculptor
John Naulin ....specialty props
Pat Toma ....sound
Tim Song Jones ....boom operator
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jenna Kautzky ....assistant costume designer
Gail Conrad ....choreographer