December 18, 2014

Afghan-American actress tries to change industry

By Sayed Jawad - Sun Dec 30 2012, 11:21 am

1149251_fg_1207_afghanactress_01_CMCAfghan-American actress, Fereshta Kazemi born in Kabul 33 years ago and left at age 2 is back now for the first time, determined to radically alter the way Afghans view women — particularly women who act.

Actress Fereshta Kazemi offers no apology, no explanation and is currently directing a drama series she will star in called “Kocha-e-Ma” (Our Street), Los Angeles Times reported.

Kazemi says she will not cover her hair in the series. She will play a liberated Afghan-American woman who returns home to Kabul.

Fereshta Kazemi, left, visits the set of “Kocha-e-Ma” (Our Street), a drama series she will soon star in with Brishna Bahar, an Afghan actress, at right.

Fereshta Kazemi talks with cast members of the drama series “Kocha-e-Ma” (Our Street). Kazemi will play a liberated Afghan-American woman who returns home to Kabul.

Sadam Niko, 21, left, who plays Kazemi’s love interest in the serial, “Kocha-e-Ma” (Our Street), said of his costar: “I think she’s so brave. If the war ever ends,” he said, “all these problems will just go away.”

Fereshta Kazemi attended a screening of her a film she stars in titled “Targeting,” a psychological thriller written by Tarique Qayumi. “Fereshta needs to be careful,” said Qayumi, 37, an Afghan-Canadian filmmaker who cast Kazemi in an Afghan-themed movie shot in California. “She’s very aggressive and a total feminist, and that’s good. But it can be dangerous here.” “Targeting” was screened on a swatch of white cloth tacked to a brick wall.

The status of women in Afghanistan is often considered a unique one, because of recent histories of wars and the Taliban government. Afghan women filmmakers have the potential to make a huge impact on their communities. Their success in putting the spotlight on their fellow women’s conditions is bound to have far-reaching effects not only on public perceptions of women, but on how women themselves perceive their role in society.

Filmmaking by women in Afghanistan is a significant development. And when women themselves take over this creative art, they can certainly make the most lasting and deepest impact on how women see themselves in the midst of political violence and religious extremism.

Once a treasured luxury for the elite, Afghan cinemas are dilapidated and reflect an industry on the brink of collapse from conflict and financial neglect. Afghan cinema had to endure particular hardship under the Taliban regime, when films were outlawed and movie theaters were burned down.

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