Meet the Only Metal Band in Afghanistan in RocKabul

April 10, 2018
Travis Beard's searing rock doc will make its Australian premiere at the 65th Sydney Film Festival.

Heavy metal in war zones is A Thing now, it seems. Only yesterday we took a look at the documentary Scream for me Sarajevo, which chronicled Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson’s efforts to put on a concert in the titular ravaged city. Now, ahead of its Australian debut at the 2018 Sydney Film Festival, comes the captivating trailer for RocKabul. If you think lockout laws and noise complaints are a hassle, imagine trying to put on metal gigs while dodging the Taliban…

As it tells us in the presser, “Australian photojournalist Travis Beard’s debut film documents Afghanistan’s first metal band District Unknown and part of Afghan life that is rarely shown in Western media. The film features never before seen footage of the underground expat party scene, at odds with an extremely conservative society. The audience will witness the birth, rise and fall of this counter culture movement and see a raw first hand account of what the West’s development funds were used for. The band put themselves and their followers in the firing line. They became targets because their music connected with Afghan youth, the expat community living in Afghanistan and international audiences. We watch as the five unassuming young men deal with identity and freedom in a place where both can get you killed.”

The film was executive produced by Faith No More bassist Bill Gould, who notes, “There are plenty of people already doing “mainstream” metal docs. The word mainstream when related to music is all about conformity to me. There’s a lot of lip service paid to groups that supposedly do what they want on their own terms, but coming from a place like Kabul takes this concept to a completely different level. The kids in District Unknown had the attitude that originally inspired me to play music, and did it in a place with real potential consequences. It’s not necessarily sexy, there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it’s music made out of need.”

This looks like a hell of a thing. Flexipasses for the Sydney Film Festival are available now, with tickets on sale from May 9. The Sydney Film Festival runs from June 6 -17. Keep up with all things RocKabul at the film’s official site.

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