Sundance - Afghan Star

Each year, one or two Sundance movies really stand out in my mind as exceptional and Afghan Star may just be one of those films. Film-maker Havana Marking traveled to Afghanistan accompanied only by a camera man, a translator, and an armed body guard. She followed four contestants on the television program, Afghan Star (similar to American Idol). Viewers vote for their favorite contestants via SMS and for many of the young people this is their first experience with a democratic process, eleven million Afghans (one third of the population) voted in the finale. Two thousand contests started the contest, of those, only 3 were women. These women braved public scorn and in some cases death threats against them for the 'inappropriate behavior' of singing in public.

The film maker and host of Afghan Star were both on hand in the theater for a question and answer session after the film. We learned that the second season of Afghan Star is now airing and that this season 15 women made the cut (a five fold increase). The most poignant moment came when an Afghan woman in the audience spoke to the film maker and show host to say that this movie has given her a glimmer of hope. The media portrayals of a war torn country have given way to a country full of young people whose hope and dreams for the future are so much more than what we as Americans tend to see in our news coverage.


Erin Alberty said...

I don't have tickets for this one. Have to wait until DVD! I saw Mary & Max (as you know!) and Reporter. My other shows are Yes Men Fix the World, Rudo y Cursi and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I told the Boyfriend to surprise me (except for Reporter), so I only know a little about any of them. What else are you seeing?

dbh said...

Are you seeing Brief Interviews in SLC? I have tickets to that screening at Rose on Saturday. I'm also seeing Arlen Faber on Wednesday and The Queen and I on Friday.