British filmmaker Havana Marking was the star of the 2009 Sundance Film
Festival, winning both the Documentary World Cinema Directing Award and
Audience Award, but her critically acclaimed movie would not have been
possible without the brave candor of the men and women who competed in Afghan Star,
the music talent search TV show on which Marking’s documentary is based.
Modeled on the UK’s Pop Idol, Afghan Star is both introducing
democracy to a hierarchical, tribal society
and bringing music back to Afghanistan after it was outlawed during the
years of Taliban rule.

“I want to be famous and happy” begins the
familiar refrain of one contestant, but as he continues his aspirations
become more telling, “so I can sing for my people–they are tired of
fighting.” In addition to reading the Ten Things You Can Do to Oppose
the War in Afghanistan
, check your local movie listings this summer so you can see
this daring film when it is released by Zeitgeist in the US.

For more on the film, click
to read a brief interview with director Havana Marking.

Corbin Hiar

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