Havana Marking, director. In English, Pashto, and Dari with English subtitles (87 min., 2009). Sponsor: CREES.
After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, pop culture has returned to Afghanistan. Millions are watching Afghan Star–a Pop Idol-style TV series in which people from across the country compete for a cash prize and record deal. 2000 people audition, including three brave women. The viewers vote for their favorite singers by mobile phone and for many this is their first encounter with democracy. This timely and inspired film follows the moving stories of four young contestants looking for a new life. But their journeys take a terrifying turn as one young woman dances on stage, threatening her own safety and the future of the show itself. In Afghanistan you risk your life to sing.