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Jeff B. Harmon

Jeff B Harmon
Working on a movie in Afghanistan in 1988. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
Personal information
Birth nameJeff B. Harmon
Birth dateDecember 31, 1953(age 63)
Place of birthUnited States
OccupationFilm director

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Jeff B. Harmon (born December 31, 1953) is an American film director, writer and producer. He is also an actor, photographer and song writer.

As a journalist and war correspondent, he penetrated the Nazi underground in Paraguay while searching for Dr. Josef Mengele, right-wing death squads in El Salvador, covered Emperor Bokassa's coronation, the fall of Idi Amin, the war in Afghanistan (from both the Mujahideen and Soviet sides), and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Working as an independent filmmaker together with British cameraman, Alexander Lindsay, in 1989 Harmon completed his Afghan Trilogy, which included the documentaries Jihad, Afgan and Warlord of Kayan.

Jihad took over one year to make and was filmed clandestinely in different provinces of Afghanistan, including in Kunar and Kandahar. It showed combat and daily life under Soviet occupation, as seen through the eyes of Haji Adbul Latif, the ‘Lion of Kandahar’ and his Mujahideen fighters. Jihad won various awards including the prestigious Royal Television Journalism Award, the ACE Award (the highest award in US cable television),the Blue Ribbon at the American Film & Video Festival, and CINE's Golden Eagle.

Harmon and Lindsay were among the very few who later managed to create another documentary, Afgan, about the same war, but this time shot from the side of the Soviet army, receiving unprecedented access to the troops and even flying on missions with the Spetsnaz. Afgan won the Blue Ribbon at the American Film & Video Festival.

Warlord of Kayan told the story of Sayed Jafar Naderi, the son of an Afghan Ismaili leader and a former member of a hippie motorcycle gang in Allentown who used to work in McDonalds and play the drums in a heavy metal band. He later became a provincial governor and chief of a 12,000 man private army in Afghanistan. He fought with the Northern Alliance against the Taliban. The film won the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Just before the start of the first Gulf War, Jeff Harmon travelled to Iraq to film the day-to-day life and the 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.

Critics called Harmon’s 1996 low-budget satiric musical comedy Isle of Lesbos a cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Wizard of Oz . It portrayed a closet lesbian who reaches the point of desperation on her wedding day in her redneck hometown of Bumfuck Arkansas, shoots herself and is instantly sucked through her mirror and into a lesbian fantasy land. When her enraged parents try to get her back, the Sisters at the Isle of Lesbos put up a fight. The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Harmon wrote, produced and directed a variety series for Brazilian television O Circo De Bozo which was broadcast live to evoke the heyday of 1950’s television. This series won two Brazilian Emmys.

His writings and photographs have been published in various periodicals including Life Magazine, Harper's, the Sunday Times, Independent Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Penthouse Magazine, Gallery, Icon and The Daily Telegraph.

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