By Louis Meunier
July 03, 2013
Kabuliwood is a feature film about a group of young Afghan artists, struggling to open a cultural centre in Kabul. To do so, they must overcome fear and unite their fractured community around a shared dream, learning about love, friendship and the meaning of family in the process.
Kabuliwood was inspired by the true story of Aftaab, an all-Afghan theatre troupe, who will participate in the making of this film. An international collaboration between Afghan and Western film talents, Kabuliwood will be shot in Afghanistan. The central location is Cinema Aryub, an abandoned cinema complex that was once the most luxurious in the country. The cinema will be renovated over the course of the film and handed back to the community once shooting has wrapped.
A word from Louis Meunier – director:
I first set foot in Afghanistan in March 2002 to participate in the reconstruction effort and get the chance to discover a land whose enchantments I had read about in various travelogues. I spent unforgettable moments crossing the country in all directions, I met with a fascinating people, steeped in honor and freedom, I learnt Dari – the Afghan version of Persian – and I played buzkashi, the national equestrian sport. Intended to stay for six months, I spent seven years in Afghanistan. In order to share with the world the magic of Afghanistan, I started a film production company in Kabul.In 2008, I was asked to identify a location for the creation of a theatre in the Afghan capital. The venue was destined for Aftaab, a troupe of brilliant comedians, as well as for all Afghan artits. Unfortunately, the situation deteriorated, insecurity rose, the military law returned and the theatre project never happened. In 2012, together with a couple of friends, we decided that if we couldn’t really open a cultural venue in Kabul, we should do it symbolically, through a feature film, as an act of resistance. We wrote a story recounting the adventures of a band of artists who open a cultural centre in Kabul, and I started looking for a suitable location for the movie. I found Cinema Aryub and realized the place just needed basic renovation to be operational again. So I thought: why not do it for real and weave the fiction into the reality? I turned to cultural stakeholders in Kabul and we all agreed we should give it a try…So here is the plan – in brief: We will shoot a film with the brilliant actors of Aftaab, to showcase the dreams and struggles of the Afghan youth. In the process, we will renovate Cinema Aryub, our main shooting location for the film. Once shooting is done, we will give the renovated cinema back to the local community and Kabul municipality, to be used as a cultural centre. Read more…