AND STILL I SINGDirected by Fazila Amiri
Official Selection, 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Official Selection, 2022 DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
TV singing competition shows may be where dreams are born. In the case of contestants Zahra and Sadiqaa, the popular show Afghan Star is also where they hope to break men’s hearts. See, there has never been a female winner in the show’s 16 year history. And with the Taliban’s not-so-distant repressive regime still fresh in every woman’s memory, these two friends unapologetically jump on a roller coaster of intense rehearsals, hate mail, musical strategizing, and tele-lobbying, hoping just once to defy the odds.
Enter celebrity judge Aryana Sayeed. With the passion and presence of Dolly Parton, Sayeed is a controversial powerhouse pop singer regularly demanding equality for women. As admired and emulated as she is threatened by warlords and suicide bombers, Aryana takes Zahra and Sadiqaa under her wing. As they continue to advance to the finals, the three hope to make pop culture history. That is, until everything changes overnight.
Filmmaker Fazila Amiri is on the ground as the US withdrawal in 2021 leads to the Taliban’s chaotic return to power and upends her film subjects’ aspirations— and lives. Amiri’s first feature continues her profiles of Afghan women who create and perform in high-risk situations. Both a film with the thrills of a contest show and the violence of life dissolving before our eyes, AND STILL I SING reminds us that friendship and solidarity are powerful actions in a world where women’s rights are never guaranteed.