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ProPublica Documentary “The Night Doctrine” to Premiere at 2023 Tribeca Festival

The Tribeca Festival announced Tuesday that “The Night Doctrine,” an animated documentary directed by ProPublica’s Mauricio Rodríguez Pons and Almudena Toral, has been selected for inclusion in its short film lineup for 2023, a first for the publication.

The Night Doctrine” follows the story of Lynzy Billing, a young Afghan Pakistani journalist who embarks on a journey to find out who killed her family 30 years ago, only to uncover hundreds of civilians killed in a secretive American-backed program in Afghanistan.

Billing’s quest takes her through the streets of Kabul and Nangarhar province as she uncovers the truth about the Zero Units, squads of Afghan commandos funded, trained and directed by the CIA to go after threats to the United States. As Billing tracks the deadly night raids conducted by one of the units, she uncovers the stunning hidden cost of the program: The raids were often getting it wrong, leaving scores of dead civilians in their wake. Driven by the need to document their stories, she crisscrossed the country to meet with survivors of the raids, some of whom were wrongly targeted and suffered unimaginable losses, and others who had lost family members and were left with nothing but questions. She convinced Afghan commandos to speak candidly about their role in killing their countrymen. Billing’s investigation leads her to confront uncomfortable truths about the role of the United States in the war in Afghanistan. Interweaving the stories of survivors and soldiers with her own, “The Night Doctrine” is a powerful and thought-provoking animated documentary short that sheds light on the impact of the CIA’s failed tactic of war and the need for accountability and justice.

The film is a continuation of Billing’s reporting in “The Night Raids,” a gripping and powerful investigation published in 2022 that was recently named the winner of the Mike Berger Award from Columbia Journalism School, won the Ed Cunningham Award from the Overseas Press Club and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. Billing is a producer of the film, which is scored by Afghan composer Milad Yousufi.

The festival will take place in New York City from June 7 to 18. The film is part of an animated shorts program curated by Whoopi Goldberg, and it will be screened on June 10, 11 and 17. Tickets go on sale May 2.

Watch the trailer for “The Night Doctrine” here.

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