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'Afghan Star' is UK's foreign language Oscars submission

October 6, 2009 |  4:10 pm


The documentary "Afghan Star" has been announced as the United Kingdom's official selection for the Foreign Language Film category at the 2009 Academy Awards. The film, by award-winning television producer Havana Marking, follows the lives of four Afghan contestants -- two men and two very brave women -- as they compete in the wildly popular "American Idol"-style television series "Afghan Star." The drama and emotion of such a framework is ratcheted up several notches by the fact that programs such as these would have been unthinkable in Afghanistan less than five years ago due to the strict rule of the Taliban. But even asince then, bias regarding gender roles in Afghan culture presents extra challenges to the female competitors; of the 2,000 who audition for the show, only three are women.

Since its release in April 2009, "Afghan Star" has netted numerous awards, including the directing and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Prix Italia for general interest TV documentary, and has been featured on countless stateside news and information programs, including CNN and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

-- Paul Gaita

Image: Zeitgeist Films