Afghan Star: The Documentary in Berlin

The JUNGE DGAP in cooperation with the  
European Foundation for Democracy (EFD)
cordially invite you to the premiere screening in Berlin of
After the screening, there will be an exchange of views
with Mr. Daoud Sediqi, former host of the Afghan Star show.
The discussion will be followed by a drink reception.
Tuesday 1st December 2009




Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP)


Rauchstrasse 17/18
10787 Berlin

Afghan Star: The Documentary” (click on link for trailer) is based on the Afghan version of “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”, a talent TV show that gives equal opportunities to man and women from across the ethnic and political spectrum. During five years of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, TV was outlawed. So was singing in public. But when “Afghan Star” debuted in 2005, it was watched by up to 11 million viewers – a third of Afghanistan’s population – who then casted their votes. By voting for their favourite singers by mobile phone, Afghan youth enjoyed their first encounter with democracy. The documentary sheds light on the hopes and dreams of Afghan youth, their desire for peace, education and freedom to express themselves.
According to the United National Development Programme around 68 percent of Afghans are under the age of 25, and despite the backdrop of conflict, corruption and repression, they are joyous, articulate and ultimately inspiring. “Afghan Star: The Documentary”opens a window to this young generation who will ultimately determine the future of Afghanistan.

Mr. Sediqi, the former host of the show and now an Afghan celebrity described by the BBC as “one of the most famous people in Afghanistan”, ascended from illegally repairing TVs in the Taliban era to appearing before millions of gripped viewers. Mr. Sediqi credits the programme with having broken ethnic barriers, with contestants from diverse backgrounds competing and celebrating together, as well as instilling an appreciation of democracy in Afghans who voted on the show. Featured prominently in the documentary, he is revealed to be more than a host: He used the show to subvert lingering fundamentalist attitudes. “Soldiers fight with guns. I did the same with music,” he says.

The documentary was unveiled at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, making it the first Afghan film ever to be showcased at the prestigious festival and winning the World Cinema Documentary Audience and Directors Award. In October 2009, “Afghan Star: The Documentary” was named as the UK's submission for next year’s Oscar for foreign language films.

The  European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) is a policy and advocacy institute based in Brussels and dedicated to defending democratic values, supporting democratic reforms and countering violent ideologies. EFD aims to unite organisations and individuals from different religious and ethnic backgrounds to support the values of open societies: universal human rights, freedom of conscience, and pluralism of peaceful ideas. EFD’s Afghanistan Programme aims to contribute to reforms and change in Afghanistan and to encourage debate on the role that Europe can play to support the country.

Please RSVP to this event to info@europeandemocracy.org by the 31st November 2009. We are delighted to host this event and look forward to seeing many of our members at this original unique event on the 1st December 2009.