By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 17, 2009 at 5:6AM
Havana Marking's doc "Afghan Star," which won both Best Director and Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival in the World Documentary section, has been acquired for U.S. release by Zeitgeist films.
The film details how, after 30 years of war and Taliban rule, 'American Idol' has come to Afghanistan and is "taking the nation by storm." For many, this is their first encounter with democracy and for the contestants, they are actually risking their lives to sing.
"There were three bombs in the first week I was there," said Marking said at IDFA in Amsterdam last November, where the film premiered. "It was really frightening, but seeing the staff working so hard at Tolo TV and their dedication just made me forget what was happening... We cannot show this film in Afghanistan. A lot of the women wouldn’t appear [in it] if they knew it would show in their country. The vast majority of people want freedom, want safety, and simply want to be able to talk about a TV show and not have to talk about how many of their family members have been killed…”
Zeitgeist Co-Presidents Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo are "proud to have this wonderful film as part of the Zeitgeist collection," the said in a statement. "It couldn't be more timely and it's something really special--a look at the Afghanistan that we in the U. S. never see."
They plan to release "Star" in NY and Los Angeles in early July and throughout the U. S. this summer.