Afghanistan’s national sport – no rules, no ball, one headless goat

Jun 24, 2011

Buzkashi Boys is a forthcoming, American-funded film about Afghanistan’s national sport: spelt Buzkashi. This largely lawless game is kind of a cross between polo and rugby. But instead of using a ball, the Afghan horsemen play with a headless goat. Up to fifty riders compete for cash as they try to steal the carcass from other players, before tossing it into a chalk-drawn circle. The film was directed by Sam French and written Martin Roe, two best friends who both graduated from USC film school. Their Afghan-Canadian producer is Ariel Nasr. The three hope their movie will inspire the regeneration of Afghanistan’s film industry, which has been largely destroyed by decades of war and Taliban repression. It was produced through a partnership of two NGOs – Afghan Film Project (U.S.) and Afghan Film Making Education Organization (Afghanistan), founded in 2010. Buzkashi Boys is set in the old city slums of Kabul and focuses on two young boys – a blacksmith’s son and a street urchin. The two dream of a better life, by becoming legendary Buzkashi riders. French and Roe join us to talk about filming in war-torn Afghanistan and how they’re working towards creating the next generation of filmmakers there.

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