Pennsylvania native, husband earn Oscar nod for documentary

"Three Songs for Benzair" is a love story set in a camp for displaced people in Kabul.
LOS ANGELES -- A Havertown, Pennsylvania filmmaker is up for an Oscar in the 'Documentary Short Subject' Category.

Elizabeth Mirzaei created "Three Songs for Benzair," along with her Afghan-born husband Gulistan.

It's a love story set in a camp for displaced people in Kabul. The Mirzaeis own love story is where their journey to the Oscars begins.

"This was something that really just pulled us in to capture this love story of a couple with so little in the world, but the world in their hearts," Elizabeth said.

The film features Shaista and Benazir. They are a couple fighting to start a family against the backdrop of war.

Telling their love story was a passion project for the Mirzaeis.

"We met at a gas station in Kabul," they said.

Gulistan was the first person Elizabeth met when she arrived in Afghanistan.

After four years as creative colleagues and friends, they became husband and wife. Along the way they met Shaista and Benazir.

"There was something so remarkable between them that we felt was really unusual, we hadn't seen it before," Elizabeth said. "It really just drowned out the war that was happening on the outside. There was just this intimacy, and the beauty and the joy and the humor that happens behind closed doors."

"In my country, Afghan people are so happy," Gulistan said.

"They are saying how they are so happy to see Afghanistan represented this way for the first time, and that they just have so much pride in knowing that an Afghan filmmaker told this story," Elizabeth adds.

They explain the moment they heard their names read as Oscar nominees.

"When they announced us, I shouted," says Gulistan, recalling his reaction. "My youngest daughter woke up and my mom asked if I was crazy."

The couple has two young daughters.

"This is probably our first date night in six years," they laughed.

The 94th Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on March 27 starting at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT/5 p.m. PT. Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes are hosting.

Check out the full list of nominations for the 2022 Oscars here.

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