Northwestern University Professor Brent Huffman screened his footage at a Washington conference of archaeologists, geologists and mining experts, a university release reported.
Mes Aynak, a 2,500-year-old religious site along the Silk Road 25 miles southeast of Kabul, is home to more than 200 Buddha statues, devotional temples and an approximately 100-acre monastery complex.
The vast majority of relics and structures are underground and many are too large and fragile to be moved, Huffman said.
"Mes Aynak served as an al-Qaida training camp, and miraculously survived three decades of war and looting," Huffman said. "Now this incredible site is threatened by Chinese mining operations that are projected to produce over $100 billion worth of copper."
Archaeologists were given less than a year to dig up the ancient relics before mining was scheduled to begin.
"It's a problem of time," Huffman explains. "The archaeologists on the site say they have unearthed no more than 10 percent of the Buddhist site."
Huffman, a professor of journalism at Northwestern's Medill School, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, making social-issue documentaries and environmental films in Asia, Africa and the Middle East for more than a decade.
"I usually make films that act as a mirror examining some issue and reflecting some reality," he said. "But, for the first time, with Mes Aynak, I feel an obligation to try to save this ancient site and stop the senseless destruction of Afghanistan's cultural heritage."
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