Controversial Afghan pop star and activist Aryana Sayeed mentors young hopefuls as they prepare to appear on their country’s hit TV show Afghan Star. With two young women on the verge of being named the show’s first ever female winners, the Taliban take over and their lifelong dreams of becoming pop stars are suddenly under threat.
For 13 straight seasons, Afghanistan’s hit TV show Afghan Star, a hugely popular American Idol-style singing contest, has never had a female winner. But that is about to change. When the controversial feminist Afghan pop star Aryana Sayeed takes on mentorship of two young hopefuls – female singers Zahra Elham and Sadiqa Madadgar – she works to push the national conversation around women’s rights and the value of women’s contributions to society. Facing death threats for their costume choices or song lyrics, the female contestants make strides towards the final episode – slowly winning over the hearts of the public. As Aryana plans an enormous national pop concert, the Taliban suddenly returns to power – reversing 20 years of progress for women. As each artist suddenly must decide to stay with their families or try to escape the country they love – Afghan-Canadian filmmaker Fazila Amiri’s film is a call to action to support the activists continuing to stand up for women’s rights in Afghanistan. Continue