Afghan Star: The Documentary in London
The European Foundation for Democracy
Tuesday 24 November 2009
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, London
The School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS)
London WC1H 0XG
Afghan Star: The Documentary is based on the Afghan version of Pop Idol, a talent TV show that gives equal opportunities to men 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 cast their votes by sms. 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 opens a window to this young generation who will ultimately determine the future of Afghanistan.
Mr. Sediqi, the former host of the show, won his battle to bring more freedoms in the country. “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 the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film.
We very much hope that you will attend. Please RSVP by 20 November to email@example.com.