Afghan Star


Sundance - World Cinema Audience Award

Sundance - World Cinema Directing Aware

Grierson Award

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  • Production
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Havana Marking
Completed 2008 Runtime 87



Through the eyes of young, talented and ambitious pop hopefuls all competing to become the next Afghan Star we experience the birth of a new, optimistic Afghanistan. 10 years ago in Afghanistan if you sang, danced or even listened to music you risked imprisonment or even death. Now there is a new phenomena taking the country by storm.

Long Synopsis

Based on Pop Idol, the TV series Afghan Star has been taken to the nation's heart, allowing Afghans to rediscover their musical and artistic culture. But for many Afghans, music can still bring danger. For Lema, a courageous eighteen year old, living in the Taliban heartland of the south, to audition is to risk her life. At each broadcast her family prays for a power cut so that her neighbours won't see her sing.

Afghan Star is more than just a game show. It offers hope and inspiration to the youth of Afghanistan, lifting the people from their daily security nightmare. As the drama of the elimination rounds unfold, this film will explore the issues of gender, democracy, free press, and above all the power of music in this scarred and fragile nation.

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What people
have said

This eye-opening film reveals that even systems as dubious as the Idol format mean dramatically different things when transferred to radically dissimilar cultures.

Los Angeles Times

Afghanistan's version of American Idol shines a spotlight on a culture in transition. Fascinating -- especially when it comes to the experiences of the woman who's risking her reputation and social standing in order to sing.
Watch the
trailer here