Havana Marking’s documentary, “Afghan Star” portrays the “American Idol”-style television show in Afghanistan that had become a national obsession and the act of voting for ones favorite singer is in fact a new practice of democracy. The movie also examines the tribal culture of Afghanistan as reflected in the backgrounds of the four finalists (2 of them women) and the public’s responses to their performances. The most intriguing contestant, Setara Hussainzada, is a defiant young woman from Herat in her early 20s. During her final performance, she flouts taboos by letting her head scarf slip and doing a brief little dance for which she received death treats!
The British award winning director of this film, Havana Marking, is presently making another documentary about Setara and what has happened to her since the competition.
“Afghan Star” took 2009 Sundance Film Festival by storm. It was nominated for “Grand Jury Prize” in the category of World Cinema Documentary and won the “Audience Award”, as well as the “Directing Award”, in the same category.
How would I top such reviews: ” A remarkable documentary” – San Francisco Chronicle, “One of the most hopeful and heart-rending movies I’ve seen this year.” – Boston Globe, “Fascinating and, when you see Afghan versions of Simon Cowell and Co. reacting to tryouts, a reminder of how fame and the thirst for it is the same in any language.” – New York City Daily News
This is the link to an entry in early 2009 after winning the awards. Who can summarize the whole experience better than her?