Chasing Bin Laden in a High Hood

Septem8er Tapes (2004)


FrameAn American journalist travels to Afghanistan a year after 9/11, to discover the truth about the search for Osama Bin Laden. No surprise, he finds plenty of adventure, but surprise, he also finds plenty of high hood Jeeps.

Doug Hoffman always has his eye open for CJ-3Bs in obscure movies, and he grabbed some frames from this one called called Septem8er Tapes. Doug says, "It's kind of a weird movie, shot like a documentary. It's about a camera crew that goes into Afghanistan on their own, soon after the invasion, and there are some long wheelbase high hoods in the film."

PosterSeptem8er Tapes (2004) was a low-budget film, produced for $30,000 according to IMDB.com, which also estimated its box-office gross at $2,200,000 as of 2006. It was the first feature written and directed by Christian Johnston, who makes both documentary and fiction films. This one is fiction, but it's in the style of a documentary, likely because it had to be shot quickly in dangerous circumstances in Afghanistan.

FrameIt's not surprising that Jeeps, particularly Mahindra Jeeps from India, would have found their way into Afghanistan. (See Historic Photos and Tragic Willys Romance on CJ3B.info.)

A number of the vehicles seen in these shots from Septem8er Tapes seem to be Mahindras, including the 4-door Commander 650 (see Mahindra Jeeps on CJ3B.info.)

FrameIMDB states that the film was shot in Afghanistan, and stories about the dangers faced there by the film crew are scary. But there is also evidence that some scenes were shot in India, and that would certainly help to explain the number of Mahindras seen in shots like this one.

FrameThe journalist and his interpreter and cameraman also travel in a CJ-3B for a while, but the origins of that one are hard to determine. It has a Willys-style speedometer, marked in kilometers per hour.

FrameReaders of the IMDB give Septem8er Tapes very mixed reviews. Some find it to be pointless, unbelievable and poorly shot, while others enjoyed the realism of the documentary style, the courage of the filmmakers to deal with a controversial topic and shoot in a dangerous location, and the impressive action sequences.

FrameDoug Hoffman says, "This picture shows the flaming wreckage of their Jeep. They were driving their 3B at night and got bombed by a coalition fast mover. Not the way we like to see our beloved 3B's. The subtitle says it all!"

Thanks to Doug for the photos from the movie. As of early 2012, director Christian Johnston is finishing another action film in the Middle East, called Blackline: The Beirut Contract, with a reported $5 million budget. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 31 March 2012 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond