Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Kings of the New City's video poster
Play

A documentary about four Afghans and one American who meet everyday in Kabul, Afghanistan's New City Park to play pick-up soccer. Read more

243
backers
$18,671
pledged of $18,000 goal
0
seconds to go

Funded!

This project was successfully funded on March 7, 2014.

A documentary about four Afghans and one American who meet everyday in Kabul, Afghanistan's New City Park to play pick-up soccer.

About this project

Background

I arrived in Afghanistan in the summer of 2012 to pursue a job at a telecom company. But by spring of the following year, I had left that job to begin playing professional soccer with a Kabul-based club (story from Sports Illustrated). I was immediately taken aback with the vibrancy of the soccer scene. Soccer was being played at big stadiums, on street corners, and everywhere in between. I started documenting my experiences, and those of others, on a blog.

Fans celebrate the Afghanistan national team's 3-0 victory over Pakistan (August, 2013)
Fans celebrate the Afghanistan national team's 3-0 victory over Pakistan (August, 2013)

My favorite space in the whole city quickly became a public park in the center of town. It boasted a pick-up soccer “stadium.” The stadium didn’t have much by way of ornamentation, but there was no lack of personalities. There were ballers and smooth talkers, hot heads and pot heads, thugs and softies. I fell into this crowd easily. As an American playing pick-up ball in this park, I was just another abnormality.

Side note: The New City Park was portrayed in an ESPN feature about my time in Kabul that recently ran on SportsCenter.  You can check out the story here.  This piece is distinct from the project we are currently raising money for.

The Story

I began filming when I realized that my friends and teammates had some extraordinary stories to tell. One friend, Noorullah, who you’ll meet in this movie, is currently sleeping on the streets. After being kicked out of his home by his father, he moved to Kabul to find work. Through many hours spent at this park, he became serious about soccer and has foregone a steady job and a bed to ensure adequate time for his soccer training.

Noorullah getting ready to fly kites
Noorullah getting ready to fly kites

Another friend and character in this film, Mosadeq, is on the verge of making the Afghanistan’s national beach soccer team. If he does well there, he could be called up to the full national team. The only problem? He’s had to give up a year of schooling to pursue this dream, and his well-educated family makes no secret of their disapproval.

Mosadeq trying out for the national beach soccer team
Mosadeq trying out for the national beach soccer team

Sultan aka Chicharito is a business owner disillusioned by the corrupt business environment in Afghanistan. He seeks out soccer as an escape, something he can believe in after ten vain years of trying to improve his country.

Chicharito watching a Barcelone vs. Real Madrid game with his daughters
Chicharito watching a Barcelone vs. Real Madrid game with his daughters

Bashir is a family man who moved from his home provinces of Baghlan to sell dried fruits and nuts in Kabul in order to provide an income for his family. Bashir feels lonely living on his own in Kabul and comes to the park to socialize and find a surrogate family.

Bashir during an interview
Bashir during an interview

And finally there’s me, Nick, your Director and the man behind the camera asking the questions. I will narrate this film and, in doing so, provide insight as to what it was like for me to be accepted into such a community.

Here I am hamming it up for the camera after a goal
Here I am hamming it up for the camera after a goal

Purpose

We are excited to make this film to offer a view of Afghanistan rarely seen by U.S. audiences.  Additionally, these characters' poignant stories reveal the complex role of soccer and sports in our lives and the universal way we play out our dreams, disappointments, and tragedies on the field.

Group portrait taken in New City Park with various soccer characters
Group portrait taken in New City Park with various soccer characters

How You Can Help

All the filming that needed to be done in Afghanistan is completed. What is left are additional photography and interviews here in the US, space and equipment rentals, the significant task of editing the compiled footage, translation, licensing, audio mastering, and distribution.

Our budget indicates that we’ll need $18,000 to see this project through to completion. We plan to create various cuts of the filming ranging from 15 minutes to 30 minutes or longer in length.

In addition to monetary donations, we would also absolutely love in-kind donations in the form of expertise in performing any of the tasks listed above. (For example, if you’re a graphic designer who could help us out for a day, or a property manager that could lend us a workspace for a month, let us know!) Not only will this allow us to dedicate the money we do raise to higher quality inputs, but it will also expand the creative power behind this project. It goes without saying that in-kind contributions will be acknowledged accordingly in the film credits.

Teammates

Noah Schechter, Producer – Noah is a filmmaker and director living and working in New York City. He recently completed a short film, "Once, Again" as well as promotional pieces for JAWSoft, Inc. and the Baltimore Waterfront Partnership. Noah is a graduate of Williams College and was born and raised in Baltimore.

Danny Arruda, Executive Producer – Danny is a feature producer for ESPN and the owner of Killer Banana Productions. He is a creative and strategic adviser for this project.

Risks and challenges

While we plan to begin work on “Kings of the New City” in March of 2014 and to dedicate most of our waking hours to the project until it’s completed, there is always the possibility that certain pieces will take longer than expected to fall into place. Should we decide to include animation in the film, for example, or to record a performance of Afghan classical music in Kabul—these components may push back the end date of the project by a few weeks.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    55 backers

    You'll be the first to watch "Kings of the New City" via an online release!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    56 backers

    You will be listed in the "Made Possible By" section of the film and receive a shout-out on the "Kings of the New City" Facebook page + the reward above.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - You will receive a digital copy of a photo book made specially for this film, including pictures from over a half-dozen soccer venues around Kabul and selected other scenes + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    29 backers

    You will receive a digital copy of a photo book made specially for this film, including pictures from over a half-dozen soccer venues around Kabul and selected other scenes + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $85 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - You will received a 24" x 36" "Kings of the New City" film poster + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    24 backers

    You will received a 24" x 36" "Kings of the New City" film poster + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL - You will receive a compilation of extra footage that does not make it into the film, including bonus interviews, shots around Kabul, performances by non-soccer players in the park, and lots of goals! + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    2 backers

    You will receive a compilation of extra footage that does not make the film, including bonus interviews, shots around Kabul, performances by non-soccer players in the park, and lots of goals! + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    Nick & Noah will treat you to a dinner of Afghan cuisine in NYC (or a nearby city); if outside of this area, we will sit down to have a Skype Q&A about the making of the film over piping hot tea + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    3 backers All gone!

    In addition to dinner at an Afghan restaurant and the other rewards above, we will treat you and a friend to a NY Red Bulls (or Rochester Rhinos if preferable) game!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $3,000 or more

    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Nick will visit you anywhere in the continental US to lead a soccer training session for your team! Happy to work with all ages + all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    You will receive an Executive Producer credit on the film in addition to all the rewards above.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)