After 30 years of Taliban and wartime rule, pop culture is creeping back into Afghanistan. Director Havana Marking has captured it in her inspired documentary AFGHAN STAR. An "American Idol"–type contest set in Afghanistan? What more intriguing inroad into a region usually represented in our news media by death and violence? To understand the magnitude of this film, we must look at the facts—2,000 contestants compete for a chance to be the next Afghan pop idol. Three of them are women.
Havana Marking has produced TV documentaries for over 10 years, although directing is relatively new to her. Before AFGHAN STAR she directed THE CRIPPENDALES (2007), a 30 minute film about a troupe of disabled strippers. In 2005 she made THE GREAT RELATIVITY SHOW, a series of animated shorts that explained the Theory of Relativity. She has also worked on some of the most successful UK formats and films: "The F Word", "Himalaya with Michael Palin", "River Cottage" and WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE? AFGHAN STAR is her first feature length documentary film.